By 2044 Hispanics and Latinos will become a majority-minority here in the United States; and by 2050 the size of the population will have doubled in size. Presently, Hispanics and Latinos make up about 17 percent of the total U.S. population There are also 1 million unauthorized immigrants under age 18 in the U.S., as well as 4.5 million U.S.-born children whose parents were unauthorized.
Daily they come to school in fear they may return home to empty homes, the result of their undocumented parents being deported. It’s no wonder many Hispanic/Latino students struggle academically.
In fact Texas has declared its public education system in a state of emergency. In Texas nearly one in four Latino students not meeting reading standards by third grade. Just 79 percent of Latino students meet eighth-grade reading standards and 72 percent meet eighth-grade math standards; and only 57 percent of all students and 48 percent of Hispanic students graduate from high school college-ready.
In Texas the Latino/Hispanic account for 38.2% of the population and climbing. Eventually those of Latino/Hispanic heritage will be the majority, and what challenges will Texas face should that population also be poorly or under-educated?
This same question should be posed nationally as well. While statistics show the national dropout rate reached a record low last year, and that the decline is being driven by substantially fewer Hispanic youth dropping out of school, there are still troubling trends. Fewer than half of Hispanic students who took the ACT this year met the college readiness benchmarks in math or science.
Telling though is the fact that students who expressed interest in STEM fared better on the college admissions exam. Hispanic/Latino students performing well in all areas of study is important, but given the portion of the population they will come to represent in the not to distant future it is imperative that they are provided opportunities to study and do well in STEM. Businesses struggle to find qualified candidates to fill the jobs in STEM fields.
In Texas as in the rest of the US a underprepared workforce is potentially devastating. It’s hard for companies to stay in regions that don’t offer a sufficiently trained workforce,
By 2050 we will need a adequately prepared Hispanic/Latino work force so that our country can continue to grow and keep jobs here, especially when it comes to the higher-paying, technical jobs one finds in the STEM fields.