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How Academic Deficiencies Are Hindering Hispanic Achievement In Houston Area

The report is called “Shared Prospects: Hispanics and the Future of Houston”

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The report called “Shared Prospects: Hispanics and the Future of Houston” by Rice University’s Kinder Institute was released this week. It found 90 percent of Hispanic immigrants in Houston are from Mexico and Central America, and that most arrived without a high school diploma.

The report was presented to government and business leaders.

“Latinos are not getting the kind of the degree of education that they need,” said Professor Steven Klineberg, the Institute’s co-director and author. “They are falling further behind Anglos — the percentage of graduating high school seniors in all of HISD classrooms. About 6.5 percent of all Latino graduates in high school today are prepared to go to college.”

He says Houston’s landscape has changed over the more than two decades the survey has been taken.

“Education has become absolutely critical where the blue collar jobs have disappeared. The big employers in Houston in 1970 was Hughes Tool Company, Cameron Iron Works, those jobs are gone. Education is a critical determinant of a person’s ability to earn enough money to support a family in the knowledge-economy of the 21st century,” said Klineberg.  

Juliette Stipeche is president of HISD’s Board of Education. She says there is a deficiency in academic performance in Hispanic students.

“I think what has happened, is we’ve seen extraordinary demographic changes, and we have seen an increase in the students at HISD who are classified as economically disadvantaged,” said Stipeche. 

She says it’s important that parents of these students become involved in their education and in the HISD schools they are attending.

Bob Harvey of the Greater Houston Partnership says at least 60 percent of the jobs being created in Houston require more education after high school.

“And yet, many of our young people are not completing even high school, much less a post-secondary credential. So we’ve got this huge mismatch in our economy, between the jobs we’re creating and patterns of behavior that are contributing to low educational attainment,” said Harvey.

Dr. Laura Murillo is president of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She says the Chamber is working closely with community colleges to encourage Hispanic students to continue their education.

“It is vital that these young Latinos, and students in general, prepare with an education, whether it’s a two year, four year or certification for actual jobs. Provide students with an understanding of how long it’s going to take you to either get a certificate,” said Murillo. “What that job is, what the need is out there, and how much you can earn.”   

The report concludes that the achievement gaps must be bridged soon, so that Houston can capitalize on having a young, multicultural and multilingual workforce that’s prepared to compete in today’s global economy.

 

Below is a copy of Shared Prospects: Hispanics and the Future of Houston” 

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