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Toward A Comprehensive Model Of The School Leaving Process Among Latinos

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Autor:   •  December 25, 2010  •  1,080 Words (5 Pages)  •  806 Views

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Fred Webber

Freshman Seminar 193

Latinos in the City

Professor Velez

Response Paper

November 27, 2006

Toward a Comprehensive Model of the School Leaving Process among Latinos

The children of today make up the next generation that will shape the future. With Latinos making up the United State's largest minority group, their impact on our nation's institutions is tremendous. "Toward a Comprehensive Model of the School Leaving Process among Latinos" seeks to identify key factors that contribute to the high drop-out rates that plague the Latino community. The article also discusses key changes in policy that will greatly benefit not just the Latino community but the entire nation.

According to many researchers, there are many factors that are associated with the decision to leave school. For better understanding, the factors have been broken down into three categories- individual, family, and structural. Individual refers to behaviors linked to specific students. Family factors are in depth looks at how the family affects the success of a student. Finally, structural factors refer to the societal context in which the individual and family operate.

The first area highlighted is individual factors that are actively contributing to Latino dropouts. This study focuses mainly on "the individual student and his or her attributes, such as behavior, attitudes, academic performance, generational status, language, and ethnicity."(Saenz and Velez 448) The first factor is oppositional behavior and adversarial subcultures. This subtopic discusses how truancy, cutting classes, and disorderly behavior all have linked with leaving school. A startling point that was brought up in the article is that "dropouts are really "push outs" when school personnel label some students as "troublemakers" and school policies and procedures encourage disciplinarians to use suspensions to remove them."(Bowditch, 1993) I had been completely oblivious to this idea prior to reading this article. Academic expectations and performance is a rather simple factor. Research indicates that students who don't have high academic expectations of themselves are less like to complete high school. Along with this, students demonstrating better academic performance are also less likely to dropout. Accelerated role taking is another factor that draws attention to the excessive amount of Latina girls who become pregnant and dropout. Generational status and acculturation focuses on contradictory findings about the effect of immigrant status and whether it either encourages dropping out or encourages completion of school. Spanish language is cited to be an important factor in explaining educational failure of Latinos. "Among Latino students who speak Spanish at home, English-speaking ability is frequently related to their success in school." (Saenz and Velez 452) Some evidence exists however that bilingual education and ESL programs can help to neutralize the negative effects of students with limited English proficiency. The final factor is ethnic group membership and this simply states that Mexican Americans out of all Latinos have the highest dropout rates.

The family unit often holds much responsibility when it comes to the success of a child in a school system. Family structure indicates the impact of having more than one parent in the home to encourage the student, and discusses briefly that parenting styles also play a role. Family socioeconomic background stresses that economic constraint can force some students to drop out because their families need their earnings immediately. "Living in a neighborhood characterized by concentrated poverty is associated with inadequate housing, high crime rates, high unemployment rates, and higher exposure to health hazards, all of which have direct or indirect effects on the educational chances of children."(Saenz and Velez 454) Latinos are found to be particularly affected by this. Connected with this is the atmosphere of the school in that schools with high student-to-teacher ratios have higher dropout rates. The nomadic nature of many Latino families also creates a strain because it makes it difficult for a child to feel stable and comfortable


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