When the Pew Research Center published results of a recent survey, some were surprised that immigration was not the top issue for US Hispanics. What was the issue more Latinos deemed a top priority for the new administration and Congress? It was the improvement of our educational system. Hispanic adults long for excellent neighborhood schools that offer all children access to quality education. Latino culture is focused on faith and on family, so nothing is more important to us than ensuring the next generation has the education and opportunity to excel.
Unfortunately, there is much work to be done before every child graduates from high school with the skills needed to succeed in college or a career. Low standards have particularly affected low-income and minority families. We must end this inequity if we are to honor the imago dei (image of God) in every child and every student. Our Christian faith in particular compels us to equip and support all young people if they are to meet their God-given potential. It’s also in the best interest of the United States to better prepare a growing Hispanic community that will soon outnumber all others.
My own childhood is an example of how education standards can vary for students of color. I grew up attending public school in Pennsylvania, an eager student with a knack for math and science. Yet as many wealthier and non-Hispanic students in my district were expected to excel and attend college, those high expectations did not apply to me or my friends. We lived in a challenging neighborhood, and our educational standards corresponded with our zip code. Though I had been identified for the gifted program and was taking honors classes, I will never forget how the guidance counselor ...1