Last month I wrote a post about a new human centered design initiative from the Keller Futures Center for improving resilience among Latino youth. Interesting enough, about the time we were completing the project, an article appeared in The Rapidian (a local Grand Rapids online news and information source) about the Grand Rapids Latino student achievement gap. Unfortunately, the statistics look bleak. According to the article post, Grand Rapids students in the eleventh grade are scoring at 18% proficiency in math and 32% in reading compared to statewide scores of 52% in math and 63% in reading. What are causes of these educational gaps and what can be done to close them?
The article post, submitted by local education institute San Juan Diego Academy, hypothesizes on many reasons for the academic lag among Latino students. Poverty and language are listed as possibilities. Some of our research with the Latino resiliency project revealed a lack of goals and disconnections from family and culture as possibilities as well. I believe the issue is complex and there are many factors that influence a young person’s success or failure in school. Hopefully, through the hard work and commitments of the Grand Rapids Public Schools, organizations like the San Juan Diego Academy, and the fruition of new ideas from the Keller Futures Center Latino youth resiliency project, we will begin to see the gaps close.
Regardless of the reasons, academic achievement is imperative for sustaining our communities. As Latino growth continues to spread across our nation, education will become an important element to define our future. We cannot afford to neglect the education of our Latino youth and other undeserved communities.
Read the article post from The Rapidian here: http://therapidian.org/grand-rapids-latino-student-achievement-gap