Creating a College Culture for Latino Students: Successful Programs, Practices, and Strategies

The mission statement of the Common Core State Standards couldn't be any clearer in describing expectations for the education of our nation's youth. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy. In the 21st century, a high school diploma without further education provides limited options for young adults: high school graduates currently have an unemployment rate of 32% – approximately twice that of college graduates. According to research conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, despite recent increases in college attendance rates for Latino students (in 2010, approximately 32% of total college enrollments in two and four schools), their numbers are low in comparison to Whites (43%), Asians (62%), and Blacks (38%). Not surprisingly, the rates are much lower for children born into households in which parents or guardians weren't college-educated. When we take into consideration the fact that Latinos are the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S., the implications for global competitiveness (not to mention the human toll of so much unrealized promise) are quite alarming. The proposed book provides teachers and educational leaders with a guide to creating conditions in schools that are conducive to Latino students having access to higher education and – by extension – promising futures. The author bases her recommendations on lessons learned from successful college bound programs in public schools, the non-profit sector, and recognized charter schools, as well as a substantial body of quality research on Latino students and their families. The heart of the book builds on the premise that effective academic and social support practices intertwine with increased expectations, successfully leading underrepresented Latino students to college. Social capital builds the value, connectedness, and motivation of cultural, emotional, informational and instrumental networks that undergird students' readiness and aptitude to pursue a path to college.

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