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WYSO's Lewis Wallace interviewing Trotwood-Madison High School teacher Alicia Pagan.00000173-90ba-d20e-a9f3-93ba72ce0000Graduating Latino is WYSO's series on education for Latino students in the Miami Valley, produced in partnership with Think TV. It's part of the public media initiative American Graduate, which is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.In much of the Miami Valley the Latino population has gone from about 2 percent in the mid-2000s, to 4 percent now. Around half the local Latino population is from Mexico, which means the other half represent a big cross-section: many Puerto Ricans, and people from Central and South America. The population is a mix of foreign-born and U.S.-born representing a diverse set of experiences.The launching point for this series is a persistent disparity in high school graduation rates between white and Latino students. In 2012 the graduation rate for white students in Ohio was 86 percent; for Latinos, it was 68, and for Black students it was 61 percent.  Those racial and ethnic disparities also exist nationally, but the white/Hispanic disparity is much wider in Ohio than in the nation.Some local districts, especially Dayton, are looking at low graduation rates across the board. Latino kids fall through the cracks, but they’re not the only ones.The good news is, dropout rates in this country have been falling for decades now—for all students, and for Latinos especially. The percentage of Latino high schoolers to drop out completely went from 40 percent in 1972 to 15 percent in 2012. In the process of reporting these series we’ve met a lot of kids who are doing great, graduating and going to college. We also found that many of the kids who do drop out or don’t graduate on time are dealing with the same issues: the need to support their families, a belief that they can’t go on to college, or overwhelming life circumstances.The stories will range from preschool and kindergarten readiness to bilingual education to personal profiles of people dealing with not having legal status while trying to go to school. We’ll also hear about positive programs like El Puente in the Twin Towers neighborhood, Springfield’s Hispanic Outreach Program and a group of Puerto Rican Engineers working to mentor kids. We’ll visit high schools in Dayton and Trotwood. It’s by no means comprehensive, but we hope it will show a slice of what’s going on in this rich and diverse community.Look for stories from our whole news team from April 13-24 in our weekday news shows, Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as online every day. You can also access local stories from WYSO through your smartphone on wyso.org or through the free app NPROne.00000173-90ba-d20e-a9f3-93ba72cf0001 

Despite Obstacles, Latinos Surge Ahead To College

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The Graduating Latino series is looking at both the obstacles and successes of Latino families navigating the education system in the Miami Valley. But recent research from the Pew Research Center finds the story of Latinos and education in the U.S. is a rapidly changing one: in 2012, the percentage of Hispanic high school graduates who went on to college exceeded that of their white counterparts. In other words, if they do graduate from high school, Latino kids are now more likely to go on to college than white kids.

Mark Hugo Lopez from Pew talked to us about why that is: he says attaining middle class status and the value of education are high on the list for a lot of Latino families, and the shift is being driven by kids born here in the U.S. He also says the increase in the numbers of girls going on to college is giving the numbers a boost.

The research also shows dropout rates are going down overall in the U.S., and for Hispanic students, they’re plummeting—from 40 percent in 1972 to 15 percent in 2012. As of 2012, Hispanic students made up a quarter of public school students in the country.

That said, disparities remain. Latinos in the U.S. are still attending preschool in lower numbers than white kids of the same age, and Ohio still has a significant disparity in graduation rates between whites and Latinos. In the remainder of the series, we’ll look at some of the challenges in local districts including Dayton, Trotwood-Madison and Springfield.

Graduating Latino is WYSO's series on education for Latino students in the Miami Valley, produced in partnership with Think TV. It's part of the public media initiative American Graduate, which is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.