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Hispanics In The U.S . No Latino Student Should Be Left Behind
January 16, 2003
Hispanics In The U.S.
Dear Puerto Rico Herald:
I frequently visit the web site and read the articles.
I would be classified as a Caucasian American, living in Texas. Sometimes I am appalled at the content of the articles because it seems as if the Hispanic community is under estimating themselves. I think I understand why but of course, until I live in their (hispanic) shoes, I can only imagine.
One thing I can say is that because of where I live, my view of the Hispanic community is perhaps closer to where it ought to be in the rest of the nation.
Hispanics will soon be the majority in the US and Caucasians will become a minority. In my opinion, you can either embrace that fact or deny it.
To be fair, I do think about what it would be like as a minority, potential struggles that I may encounter but I also think about what it would be like when the US finally looks beyond the color of your skin and the ancestry of your parents. In San Antonio, for example, the population seems to be close to a 50-50 mix of Caucasian and Hispanic.
Rather than an extreme dividing line between the two ethinic groups, the two live side by side, creating their own local culture. Don't get me wrong, there still are differences, but there seems to be general acceptance of Caucasian and Hispanics ethnicities...as it ought to be. I write this note not to condemn or to praise but more as an encouragement.
Regarding Puerto Rico, I must say, it would be welcomed if the citizens decided to become a state of the union. I also respect the desires of the citizens of Puerto Rico, even if that meant parting from the relationship with the US.
There are more than just Hispanics interested in and watching the politics and events happening with Puerto Rico. Despite either outcome, I hope the relationship between the US and Puerto Rico stays positive.
No Latino Student Should Be Left Behind
January 17, 2003
On Jan. 8, the White House celebrated the first anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act. The Bush administration has touted this educational reform as the answer to ailing public schools in the United States. It has been selling the No Child Left Behind Act as its chief domestic policy accomplishment. But after one year, the rhetoric has not matched the reality.
The administration is correct in stating that parts of this law are critical to improving academic outcomes for Hispanic students. For example, the policy sends a needed message to schools: You are responsible for helping students who are learning English to also read and do math.
But while the law is good for English learners and Latino parents, the parts of the act most important to these children were not enthusiastically endorsed by the Bush administration. For example, the administration's original version of the policy would have given schools a loophole by proposing that they can forgo teaching English-learning students reading and math for an indefinite period of time. Under the Bush plan, these students would have fallen further behind their English-proficient classmates.
Also, some of the most important parent-support provisions -- those likely to prepare parents to hold schools accountable -- received little support from the administration.
The administration has proposed no funding increases for the federal program for English learners in its first two budget plans despite the fact that these students are the fastest-growing segment of the school population.
And Latino parents fare even worse under the Bush budget. The fiscal year 2003 budget from the administration eliminates parent assistance programs -- such as parent information resource centers and family information centers -- altogether. These community-based centers would provide parents with the help that they need to process the information they will be receiving from schools under the act. Without these centers, it will be difficult for parents to do what is at the heart of this legislation: to hold schools accountable for educating their children.
Unless we hold our schools and our government accountable, we will fail all children in the United States.
Raul Yzaguirre is president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (www.nclr.org).