(The English version of this articles follows
Crece deserción escolar de hispanos en secundaria
October 11, 2002
Associated Press, La Opinión
WASHINGTON, D. C. (AP).-- El número de hispanos que desertaron o nunca
asistieron a la escuela secundaria aumentó en más de un 50% en los años 90,
sobre todo en el sur y oeste de Estados Unidos, donde muchas escuelas no
pudieron absorber la creciente población hispanohablante.
Los cambios demográficos presentan un desafío arduo, sobre todo a las
autoridades escolares rurales y de pueblos pequeños, que deben sacar fondos de
sus escasos presupuestos para tomar personal bilingüe e instruir a los alumnos
que desconocen el inglés.
En 2000, aproximadamente 1.5 millones de residentes en Estados Unidos de 16 a 19
años no estudiaban ni habían terminado la escuela secundaria.
De éstos, unos 530 mil; o sea, el 34%, eran hispanos, comparado con el 22% del
total en 1990.
Este salto brusco se debe en parte al crecimiento global de la población hispana
durante los 90. Con 35.3 millones de personas, se acerca a la comunidad negra
como la minoría más grande del país. Los hispanos constituyeron casi el 16% de
los jóvenes de 16 a 19 años en 2000, comparado con el 11% en 1990.
Mientras que el número de hispanos que desertaron de la escuela secundaria o
nunca asistieron a ella creció en un 53%, la población hispana de esa edad
creció en un 45%.
Pero el aumento de desertores escolares hispanos se debe también a los pequeños
distritos escolares que carecen de fondos, personal y programas para ayudar a
los inmigrantes a adaptarse a las escuelas y superar la barrera del idioma, dijo
Marco Zárate, activista por la educación de los hispanos.
"La razón principal de que la deserción es mayor en los hispanos no está
relacionada con el trabajo ni la familia", explicó Zárate, presidente de la
Sociedad de Profesionales Hispanos de Carolina del Norte. "Depende de las
escuelas. El niño que rinde bien en la escuela, que se siente parte de la
escuela, no va a desertar", aseguró.
Dropout rate for Hispanics up since 1990
October 11, 2002
Genaro C. Armas, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- The number of Hispanics who dropped out or never attended high
school surged by over 50 percent in the 1990s, especially in the South and West
where many schools were overwhelmed as they tried to accommodate the
fast-growing Spanish-speaking population.
The changing demographics present a tough task, particularly to small-town and
rural school administrators who must find money in their tight budgets to hire
bilingual staff members and develop new programs to teach newly arrived students
who may not have a good grasp of English.
In 2000, approximately 1.56 million U.S. residents ages 16 to 19 were not high
school graduates and not enrolled in school.
Of the total, nearly 34 percent, or more than 528,000, were Hispanic. That's up
from 22 percent, or nearly 346,000, of the 1.59 million total in 1990.
The dramatic change in the percentage is due partly to the overall growth in the
Hispanic population during the 1990s to 35.3 million, rivaling blacks as the
nation's largest minority group. Hispanics represented nearly 16 percent of all
16- to 19-year-olds in 2000, regardless of educational background, up from 11
percent in 1990.
While the number of Hispanic dropouts and those who never attended high school
grew by nearly 53 percent, the overall population of Hispanic youths of that age
grew by about 45 percent.
Yet the increase in Hispanic dropouts is also due to small school districts that
lack the money, staffing and programs to help new immigrants adapt to U.S.
schools and overcome language barriers, Marco Zarate, a Hispanic education
advocate from Apex, N.C.
"The No. 1 reason that dropout rates are higher for Hispanics is not
work-related and it's not family related," said Zarate, president of the
nonprofit group North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals. Over 25
percent of the dropouts in his state were Hispanic in 2000, up from about 2
percent in 1990.
"It is school-related. If a child is doing well in school, if he or she feels
part of the school, they are not going to drop out," he said.
The temptation of a quick paycheck lured others to avoid school entirely.
"For some, it may not be that they are dropping out of school, but rather that
people are coming here and not going to school to begin with," said Jennifer
Day, an education analyst with the Census Bureau.
Nationally, dropout rates decreased slightly over the decade: the 1.56 million
dropouts in 2000 represented nearly 10 percent of the total population of 16- to
19-year-olds, regardless of educational status. In 1990, the 1.59 million
dropouts represented more than 11 percent of the older teens.
Among all Hispanics ages 16 to 19, about 21 percent did not graduate from high
school or were not enrolled in school, down slightly from nearly 21.6 percent in
1990. Among blacks of that age, the dropout rate was 12 percent, down from 14
percent. For whites, it was just below 7 percent, down from 9 percent.
However, when looking at dropouts only, Hispanic representation increased,
while the percentage who were black declined from 18 percent to 17 percent.
Among whites, it decreased from 58 percent to 44 percent.
Raul Gonzalez, education policy analyst with the Hispanic advocacy group, the
National Council of La Raza, pointed to the importance of creating new methods
to address the shifting demographics, such as allowing those teens who must work
more than four years to get their high school diploma without penalty, or
creating work-study programs
"It's not going to be cheap to educate these kids," he said.
Expanding English as a Second Language funding and creating more flexible class
scheduling may also help, said Richard Fry, a researcher with the nonpartisan
Pew Hispanic Center.
The school district in Harlingen, Texas, along the U.S.-Mexico border, has long
had a large Latino student population. To combat the dropout problem there, the
district opened a separate school devoted to helping students who had fallen
behind to catch up to their grade level.
On the Net: www.census.gov