With school years coming to a close and graduates throwing their caps in the air, where do Latinos in the Los Angeles Unified School District rank today?
Fewer than 40 percent of Latinos graduated from LAUSD in 2009
According to the “Fingertip Facts 2009-2010” of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), 74.2 % of Hispanics make up the student body.
The LAUSD’s “School Report Card 08/09” states that 52% of all their 9th graders from 2005 were expected to graduate from high school in 2009.
If we complete the math with these figures, this left Hispanics with fewer than 40% graduating on time in 2009.
This is in line with Heather Mac Donald’s (2007) reporting for Hispanics in 2007, “In the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is 73% Hispanic, just 40% of Hispanic students graduate.”
However, this is assuming that 74% of Hispanics fit into the 52% graduation rate (Llanos, 2010) and the graduation rate is not inflated as reported by in the L.A. Times (Rubin, 2006), when it reported on the research findings by Education Week and .UCLA.
The reality is that the LAUSD graduation rate for Hispanics could be far lower than 40% in 2009.
California Department of Education graduation rate for LAUSD in the past decade
Even with LAUSD’s state provided data for the past recorded years of this decade, the average graduation rate, according to California Department of Education’s data source, is declining:
- In 2000-01: 73.7
- In 2001-02: 72.5
- In 2002-03: 68.6
- In 2003-04: 66.1
- In 2004-05: 66.4
- In 2005-06: 63.9
- In 2006-07: 67.1
In 2007-08: 72.4
This is leaving an already underrepresented class of Angelinos with a dire academic future, especially if this decline continues to spiral down from a 52% graduation rate.
A small comparison to our neighbors to the north from the U.S. Census 2000
United State Census Bureau report of 2000 shows that in Los Angeles, of people 25 years and older, 66.6% had a high school diploma or equivalent, which was 10% lower than the state’s 76.8%.
Of people 25 years and older, 25% had a Bachelor’s degree or higher–still lower than the state’s 26.6%.
This was dismal when compared to our immediate neighbors, Beverly Hills, which had 90.8% high school graduates or equivalent.
While for people of 25 years and older, 54.5% had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
The obvious is that education is critical to socioeconomic status (SES), and if Angelino children are to compete in tomorrow’s market, we need to have our legislators stand in front of them and break away the barriers that block the road to their academic success..
What is being done to bring up our graduation rates in LAUSD?
Aside from a coalition of leaders representing organizations within Los Angeles, the L. A. Compact (Llanos, 2010), studies are being conducted to understand the issues behind the Latino barriers to academic success. In 2009, the Pew Hispanic Center found that of their Latino participants 74% of ages 17 through 25 cut their education short, because they needed to support their family; 44% of ages 16 through 25 said Hispanics are not doing as well as their class mates due to cultural differences of their teachers.
The bottom line: It is imperative that our community comes together to break-down the barriers that prevent our Latino children from succeeding in their academics through and beyond high school. It goes without saying that this starts at home, but until our society can come out of this recession, home only fuels Latinos to go into the workforce prematurely to support the home. Therefore, this leaves the power to make a difference within our leaders, whom must come from a diversity of cultures or a cross-cultural perspective in order to understand, reach, and relate to this community.
To parallel LAUSD superintendent Ramon Cortines’ words (Llanos, 2010), we need more than words on paper, promises during campaigns and writing of LAUSD contracts; we need action by empowering people who really care and can produce!