FLYP recently published a forward-looking piece, Bienvenidos to the New America, about how the future of the United States may hinge on the education and well-being of the growing Latino population. Here’s an excerpt:
In 2050, according to census projections, 63 million Americans will be of Hispanic origin, accounting for more than one-quarter of the total population.
Now, consider two alternative trajectories offered by Henry G. Cisneros, former mayor of San Antonio and former housing secretary under President Bill Clinton. In the first, Latinos become solidly middle class, “contributing new creative energies and youthful skills, engaged in building a new American future.” In the other, Latinos remain a “large, undereducated, under-compensated, alienated and divisive force in American society.”
The difference: an America that prospers in the 21st century, or one that fades into decline. As Thomas H. Castro, a prominent Mexican-American business leader puts it, “the well being of America is going to depend on the well being of Hispanics.”
In Oakland’s public schools, Latinos have become the largest ethnic group, making up about 37 percent of the student population. (You can find the breakdown, by ethnicity, here.)
Accordingly, a good deal of the education reform — small schools, for instance — has taken place in predominately low-income, Latino areas of East Oakland. But, as we saw with the death of 13-year-old Josue Lopez-Gil, gangs have a strong grip in those areas as well.
What trajectories do you see for the city’s low-income Latino children — and their children?