A New Pew Hispanic Center Report released this week shows that Latinos once again are behind their white and black peers when it comes to educational certification after dropping out of high school. Dropping out of high school is horrible enough, but only one in ten Hispanic high school dropouts has obtained a GED. And unfortunately, the problem isn’t just limited to immigrant Hispanics.
The Associate Press reports:
“Richard Fry, a senior research associate at the center, said some of the Hispanics who did not finish high school are immigrants who may not have had any educational training in the United States. For these students, it takes time to learn and access information about earning a U.S. educational credential.
According to the report, the longer foreign-born Latinos without a high school degree are in the United States, the more likely they are to earn a GED.
But Fry said a puzzle still remains: Hispanics born in the United States who drop out of high school are also unlikely to have a GED. The report found that only 21 percent earn the credential.”
There are several reasons people can point to for our lagging GED attainment including poverty and the immediate need to work, a lack of information about GED tutoring programs, ineffective community outreach for high school dropouts, and misplaced cultural priorities. But I think it’s time we start taking our educational destiny into our own hands instead of waiting for the schools, our leadership, and others to come to the rescue. I have flipped through a GED test book, and anyone who speaks English or who has a working knowledge of English should be able to pass this test. People can request GED sample tests online, and most public libraries have sample test booklets.
If we don’t commit to helping high school dropouts attain GED certification and continued education in vocational programs, we could face more trouble in the future. Overall, our high school and college completion rates have improved for all Americans. But at the bachelor’s degree level, just 13% of Hispanic adults have completed an undergraduate degree, while 17.5% of black adults and 31% of white adults have earned bachelor’s degrees. Asians blow everyone out of the water. For adults of Asian descent, 50% of them have earned bachelor’s degrees. We have to stop being comfortable with being last in terms of educational attainment, and that change starts at home.