By Efrain Nieves
While all of us have been celebrating our population growth in the United States a dire statistics is creeping up like a nightmare. The news is grim and affects most low income families.
Education is a sensitive topic that many feel we are pushing too hard. We ask ourselves, what does it matter if we’re 50 million strong when Latinos/Hispanics, that make up a large percentage of the poor population in the U.S., are falling behind in just about every school level?
Why should we not be popping that champagne yet? Well please take a few minutes to read an article published by our friend Esther Cepeda’ titled “Fewer Latinos Attend Preschool.”
According to data just released by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, the share of Latino 4-year-olds attending preschool fell nationwide from 53 percent to 48 percent between 2005 and 2009, a period that included the onset and the immediate after effects of the Great Recession.
That’s a huge fallout to which many of us would not see a problem with because many of our 4 year olds are, well you guessed it, little kids. However, Cepeda goes on to explain the cause of this fall.
“The biggest issue, however, is that joblessness rose from 6.3 percent to 10.6 percent between 2005 and 2009 for Latina women 20 and older, and even higher for less-educated Latinas. Coupled with that, the authors say, are budget reductions in state and federal aid for preschool programs serving low-income communities. It makes sense that steady gains in Latino preschool attendance were rocked by job losses and that enrollment fell not only because programs—or the transportation to them—became unaffordable for particular families but also because programs ceased to exist when funding ran out.”
Lack of funding is a major problem that is hitting our low income communities hard. They are the real victims of budget cuts.
That’s why in order to put actual energy behind reversing this decline, the problem must be seen as one that affects all children in all classrooms, rather than as just another Hispanic issue.
We agree with Esther Cepeda and abide by the rule we can not move forward if we tackle every issue as just a Latino issue. Instead, we must remember that we live in American and unless we, collectively, work together to improve the conditions under which many low income families are living, we will see our ranks swell in areas we will not be able to boast about.
Therefore, join us in spreading the word and let all community activists and political representatives know that we are serious about getting our kids educated and on the right path. We will not relent.
Photo by www.modoc.k12.ca.us
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