WYSO

Graduating Latino

WYSO's Lewis Wallace interviewing Trotwood-Madison High School teacher Alicia Pagan.
Credit Juliet Fromholt / WYSO

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.

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.

 

Despite Obstacles, Latinos Surge Ahead To College

Apr 14, 2015
graduation cap high school college
gsagri04 / Openclipart

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.

Kindergarten teacher Elly Mallen leads her class through a lesson on saying numbers and months in Spanish.
Ariel Van Cleave / WYSO

About a quarter of the students who attend Ruskin Elementary School on the east side of Dayton’s don’t speak English as their first language. Of the 11 different languages spoken at the school, Spanish is the most prevalent—and it was the Latino students who inspired the staff at Ruskin to take a different approach to teaching. The school is in its third year of a successful dual language program.
 

Welcome to WW, WYSO’s weekly radio magazine!  On today’s program –  Amanda Wright-Lane talks about the passing of Wright family member Marianne Miller Hudec. Then, remembering the Holocaust with the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton. We’ll also talk to an expert on kids and social media, and the dangers that presents.

Lead Teacher, Amanda Looney (Left), fellow teachers, and kids gather at Twin Towers Head Start to eat lunch.
Jerry Kenney

It’s pretty much accepted by education researchers that preschool attendance has positive long term effects—people who go to preschool are more likely to be successful in K-12 education and to adapt socially to being around other kids. Yet, preschool numbers for Latino kids nationally and in Ohio are lower than other ethnic groups. 

The Educational Track

This week kicks off our series, Graduating Latino, a look at education for Latino students in the Miami Valley.

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.

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