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African Americans and Hispanics are the two biggest ethnic groups in the United States. Minority communities have consistently faced prejudice in a number of industries, such as the economy. In this situation, empirical data from different organizations have shown that the degree of poverty among people of Hispanic descent is twice as high as that of Caucasians. In addition, according to Ferdman, there is a connection between ethnicity and the possession of economic wealth. Ferdman concluded that low educational achievement is the main determinant of poverty in the Hispanic community. In this case, there is a considerable link between education levels or attainment and poverty outcomes. On the other hand, higher education levels among the Caucasians are the reason why they belong to the high socioeconomic groups. Also, Federal agencies have identified education as an area of interest in improving lives of people from the Hispanic cultural background (Rodriguez 53). Therefore, this paper will prove that Hispanics are more probable to suffer poverty than Caucasians due to education levels.
The Relationship between Poverty and Education among Hispanics
Hispanic people according to Casellas, Jason and Shelly are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States (260). Various reports indicated that the Hispanic population has increased with a rate of more than 50% in the last decade. The current census projections have revealed that Hispanic people in the foreseeable future will account for more than 25% of the United States population. However, the Hispanic people differ from Caucasians from childhood circumstances to education, marriage and career experiences (Caselass, Jason and Shelly 260). Many studies have documented the relationship between poverty and education levels and have stated that improving the rates of education attainment can help to control socioeconomic status in the Hispanic population (Arciniega 150). These reports have indicated that socio-economic status of Hispanic people is lower than that of Caucasians. Education attainment has been identified as the leading causes of low socioeconomic status among the Hispanic population. In fact, United States poverty statistics have revealed that there is a negative correlation between low levels of education and prevalence of poverty among Hispanic people. The logic behind the negative correlation is that Hispanics are ten times likely to become poor without a college degree compared to the Caucasians. Furthermore, high school dropout rates in the Hispanic population are still high, and they are one of the predisposing factors to the current socioeconomic realities (Arciniega 150).
Issues and Solutions to Hispanics’ Low Education Attainment
High Dropout Rates
The likelihood of Hispanics suffering from poverty because of low education value has been validated by various studies. Becerra stated that Hispanic children because of their economic background complete two fewer years of school and earned less compared to Caucasian who come from stable environments (167). Admittedly, most students from low-income areas are unable to complete their education due to the challenges that they face in their desire to attend school. Notably, students in poverty are likely to be ill, hungry, malnourished, or exposed to violence, stress, and trauma that arise from family or neighborhood turmoil. These factors greatly reduce students’ incentives to complete school or succeed academically Becerra revealed that there is a correlation between education attainment and having an economically stable future (168). Becerra added that education is the ultimate equalizers because it measures and builds students ability to be productive in future. Since a high number of Hispanics do not complete school due to high rates of poverty, they end up being poor.
A possible solution to the high dropout rates among Hispanic students is to invest in school-based programs that go beyond classroom instruction. The all-round approach encompasses mental health, social interaction, and other after school programs. In implementations, school districts should partner with other service providers such as health practitioners, social workers, and counselors, who are much needed in low-income neighborhoods. As Joo and Kim states, although schools are rightly focused on education, they must facilitate other social services to increase academic achievements of students from low-income areas (127).
Lack of access to Education
According to the World Bank lack of access to quality education is one of the primary causes of poverty globally. In this case, reports by the World Bank have stated that despite remarkable efforts made to improve access and the quality of education, there are still substantial challenges on this front. These reports revealed that access to education is a major challenge in the United States especially for Hispanic and African American citizens (Becerra 167). Further, studies by the World Bank have insisted that education levels among Hispanic people in the United States are low compared to the Caucasians since most have limited or no access to schools. Primarily, the causes of low education levels are the cost of schooling and providence of low-quality education for the few who go to school. As Beccera (167) notes, Hispanic students due to their economic backgrounds are exposed to a less rigorous curriculum because they attend learning institutions that have fewer resources compared to the Caucasians. As Gudara (25) notes, there are two factors that limit Latino’s access to education: geographical proximity and money. Low-income areas have less numbers of schools that serve a population that may be widely spread. Due to the low supply despite of high demand, the few available schools charge high amounts in school fees. Additionally, students from low income areas lacked the means and the knowledge to access quality education since most education policies favor Caucasians than Hispanics.
Naturally, the most feasible intervention of improving access to education among students of low income areas is to increase the number of schools in these neighborhoods. Building more schools will reduce the number of students per class, a factor that will help teachers offer quality education. Currently, the average number of students per class among Hispanics is 50.00 while O.E.C.D. recommends an average of 21.4 students. Also schools should ensure a leveled playing field for school entrance preparation tests, and offer remediation to help under-prepared students to complete school.
Currently, the American education system is based on standardized testing where all students in the same grade sit for similar exams and their performance judged through and equal scale. Naturally, tests and grades are “high stakes” since they help determine a student’s school graduation or grand promotion. Despite of their poor backgrounds, Hispanic students are graded the same as Caucasian a thing that has disadvantaged them in the labor market (Gándara 25). Most Hispanics do not compete well since they are mostly underprepared. They face multiple challenges including healthcare, nutrition, and housing. Due to their results, they are often experience grade retention and eventually dropout, a factor that exacerbates poverty in this populace.
To solve this problem, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders should steer to eliminate the federal mandate of standardized testing. Better alternatives to standardized tests include “portfolio-based assessment.”The portfolio is a set of a student’s work that shows the learner’s progress in diverse subjects. Students reflect on what they have learned, and the teacher then evaluates the work with the help of a scoring guide. These portfolios also assess students’ non-academic skills such as leadership and perseverance among other emotional and social competencies. Unlike standardized tests, portfolio assessments enhance the chances of Hispanics getting to good colleges and finding good employments opportunities that improve their socioeconomic statuses.
Funding of Low-Income Schools
The funding system for public education is the other reason why Hispanics are likely are more probable to suffer poverty than Caucasians. Notably, schools in the regions that harbor Hispanic are not well funded to ensure that the curriculum meets the needs of Latino American students. In addition to that, there are enormous flaws in the formula that determine the distribution of resources in public schools (Venegas 85). Primarily, Hispanic students receive fewer funds compared to their needs, and it is the reason why support for education is weakest among Hispanic students compared to the Caucasians (Becerra 170).
All students in America deserve equal opportunities to receive quality education regardless of their gender, locality, or ethnicity. Consequently, the federal and states government should aim to offer adequate funding to schools, especially those in low income areas. The government and schools’ administrations should put in place measures to ensure flexibility in budgets to direct resources where they are needed most. Low income schools need more funding to help them meet the needs of the low-income students, mostly of whom wrestle with learning disabilities and lack of prior education. Therefore, states should provide grants to these schools. Also, low-income schools should seek alternative funding sources and stop over relying on taxes since it facilitates iniquity.
Additionally, the Catholic Church also has a massive influence on Latino schools curriculums. The curriculum of Catholic schools, which is common in Hispanic schools, does not match that of Caucasian schools. As a result, Hispanics tend to lag behind compared to Caucasians who use curriculums proposed and certified by the government Darder 20). Furthermore, academic surveys have revealed that students of color in the United States are likely to attend high poverty learning institutions. As a result, efforts to create equal opportunities for both Hispanics and Caucasians have been complicated. Achinstein acknowledged that economic differences between Latino Americans are catapulted by the education system (825). Achinstein stated that there is a systemic racial isolation between Hispanics and Caucasian in the education system (826). Thus, the discrimination is one of the factors that explain why Caucasians are likely to succeed in life compared to their Latino counterparts. In addition to that, teachers expect less from Hispanic students and its one of the reasons why they are academically handicapped. Moreover, according to the World Bank lack of quality education is the reason why many Hispanic citizens cannot acquire decent jobs despite having college degrees. Therefore, the education gaps between the Caucasians and the Hispanics are the reasons behind socioeconomic differences between the two races (Casellas, Jason and Bryan 273).
To reduce the discrepancies in quality of education offered in low and high income schools, schools, states, the government, and other stakeholders must aim to harmonize the curriculum used by students of the same education level regardless of their economic status. Notably, most private institutions, such as Catholic schools, have more control over their curriculum than public schools. The government should harmonize schools curriculums to ensure it contains content that equips students with necessary skills to succeed in careers and future life.
Illiterate Family Backgrounds
Most poverty assessments that have been conducted in the last one decade have indicated that there is a high correlation between education level and socioeconomic status (Rodriguez 54). Demographic data obtained from Hispanic household has revealed that high prevalence of poverty levels is in homes that are headed by illiterate parents. A study on the Causian population by Fisher (200) showed that most White people had an above-average education attainment. (Fisher 200). The studies have contributed the low socioeconomic statuses of Latinos to their academic background. Primarily, according to the assessments, Hispanic citizens are one the least educated racial group in the United States. More specifically, only 11% percent of Hispanics have a bachelor’s degree compare to 49% Caucasians. Therefore, the persistent economic differences between Hispanics and the Caucasians are caused by educational gaps between the two racial groups (Fisher 200).
One of the surest ways of improving quality of education among Hispanic students is to encourage parental involvement. To achieve this goal, schools in low income areas must ease the entry procedures which currently discourage parents from applying schools for their children. These schools must not only reduce entry requirements but also paper work and processes involved. Teachers should abandon the stereotypes that associate poverty and parents. Tutors and stakeholders should create platforms for interacting with parents.
Distribution of Resources and Job Opportunities
Racial profile reports have indicated that distribution of resources in the United States is polarized. In other words, there are enormous differences when it comes to allocation of resources among Hispanics and Caucasians. The difference arises from the fact that Hispanics have low levels of education that blockade them from accessing economic opportunities (Rodriguez 54). For the few who have access to education, it is often of low-quality, a factor that handicaps their ability to compete in the job market. For that reason, many people from the Hispanic background end up unemployed or in low paying jobs. For example, many Hispanics work in manufacturing and construction industries that have experienced moderate growth because of the recession in the sectors (Rodriguez 55). In addition to that, various studies have indicated that poverty rates among the Hispanics are high because their labor force lacks skills to compete with the Caucasians in the labor market.
To enable Hispanics to compete competitively, the government, school boards, and other relevant stakeholders must ensure that institutions of learning in get adequate resources that facilitate high quality education. As earlier stated, the resources should be adequate to help the poor students who lag behind in education and health. Quality education should equip the learners with skills that help them achieve success in life.
Primarily, the government has initiated various policy changes such as Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure that both Caucasian and Hispanic have the same economic opportunities. According to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is unlawful for companies or employers to discriminate their employees based on race (Jacobson 17). As a result, many organizations have made enormous steps to improve the wage bills of Hispanics to match those of the Caucasians to avoid discrimination lawsuits. In this case, due to the passage of the act, many financial reports have indicated that the wage gap between Latino Americans has narrowed. However, many employers have consistently stated that it is difficult for organizations to raise wages of the Hispanic because they lack graduate level skills that are needed in the corporate world. Therefore, level of education of Hispanics is a major stumbling block in the implementation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Jacobson 18). Undoubtedly, unless the education system is reformed, there will always be the economic gap between Latino Americans and White Americans.
Primarily, some studies have revealed that education curriculum for Hispanic students do not enhance cognitive skills. For instance, Hispanic students are not taught life skills such as critical thinking which is essential in making decisions. Further, many Hispanics are uneducated which means that they have little employment opportunities (Gándara 26). Ferdman revealed that education opens up life opportunities and it improves the chances of individuals earning economic security. For that reason, Ferdman acknowledged that lack of education, that equipped learners with critical life skills, is one of the reasons behind the financial quagmire of people of the Hispanic origin. Without academic credentials, Latino Americans are disadvantaged compared to the Caucasians. Moreover, Latino American students who manage to attend college are likely to pick less competitive courses (Kim et al. 321). Primarily, Hispanic students are likely to avoid courses such Mathematics, Engineering and others that are related to science. Therefore, their choices make the Latino Americans to be unprepared or to be disadvantaged in the pursuit of competitive jobs (Kim et al. 325)
Reports from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) have indicated that over the years Latinos have made remarkable achievement in key areas such as education attainment and health insurance coverage. However, the reports have revealed that there are still major differences between Latino Americans and Caucasians. PRB stated that although the United States is one of the most developed countries in the world, it is still struggling with economic polarization. In this case, according to the data from the PRB students from Hispanic families are not likely to attend college compared to Caucasians (Kim et al. 327). Moreover, students from Hispanic backgrounds are likely to score lower tests compared to their White Americans counterparts. The discrepancies according to the bureau create unique challenges for Hispanic people in future (Kim et al. 328). Furthermore, surveys by the bureau stated that Latino population is increasing very fast but their level of education attainment is not growing at the same rate. In addition to that, the data from the bureau showed that the Hispanics are economically isolated because their low level of education is afflicting their economic opportunities (Kim et al. 329).
Furthermore, economic surveys have indicated that Hispanics are likely to suffer from financial instability compared to Caucasians because their education is defined by a continuous cycle of poverty (Lichter et al. 210). In other words, poverty impacts school readiness and vice versa. Living in poverty means that Hispanics have no access to quality education which leaves them with wanting literacy skills and exposes them to economic challenges. Consequently, their children are exposed to the same problems and they end up suffering the fate of their parents. The studies stated that because of Hispanic low-income backgrounds they are likely not to earn a high school diploma which means that they will end up in poverty in their adulthood (Lichter et al. 212).
In his study, White showed that economic status is defined by ethnicity. He stated that education disparities are a major predisposing factor to poverty. White noted that was a considerable gap between Hispanics and Caucasians in the job market. In this case, White revealed that unemployment rates were higher in the Hispanic population compared to Caucasians. Furthermore, Hispanic females are deprived of education compared to their Caucasian counterparts. Since many Hispanics live in low-income are their female students are likely to drop out of school to help their mothers and families (White 6). A study that was conducted by Girl Scout Research Institutes found that some Hispanic girls are willing to pursue education up to tertiary, but they lack necessary support from their families. In addition to that, Girl Scout Research Institute (GRI) found that Latino American girls test scores are lower than those of Caucasians due to lack of moral support from their parents and the society in general. GRI found that most Latino American parents do not follow up their girl child academic performance and progress.
Moreover, National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families (NRCHCF) reports have found that there is a shortage of Hispanic graduates during high school and college graduation ceremonies (Joo, Myung and Jeounghee 129). NRCHCF insisted that the deficit is because of the education pipeline that continues to disadvantage Latino American students. Furthermore, NRCHCF stated that Hispanic student’s test scores are lower than those of Caucasians because their parents are not able to help in some of the complicated processes such as selection of schools (Joo, Myung and Jeounghee 130). Also, because most Hispanic parents are illiterate, they are not able to fill school financial aids which mean that their students are likely to enroll in school without the necessary academic preparedness. The NRCHCF stated that the above facts are the reasons why Hispanics are more probable to suffer poverty than Caucasians due to education levels (Joo, Myung and Jeounghee 132).
Reports from United Nations Children Fund research center has revealed that Hispanic children in the United States are likely to have an unstable future because they do not attend preschool. UNICEF research center stated that Hispanic children lack the necessary education background because of the failure of their parents to take them through Preschool (Becerra 174). In this case, UNICEF compared Hispanics students who had not attended school with Caucasians who had gone through elementary school and found that the White Americans were more proficient in various literal skills than the Latino Americans (Becerra 175). UNICEF stated that lack of a comprehensive early childhood education affected high school and college completion which is the primary reason why Hispanics are more probable to suffer poverty than Caucasians due to education levels. Therefore, UNICEF recommended that it is essential to reform the education system to level the playing field for both Hispanic and Caucasian students (Becerra 177). Globalization is the other factor that puts Caucasians in a position of competitive advantage in the labor market compared to their white counterparts. In the early 1970s, the United States decided to globalize their economy to compete in the international market. As a result, individuals who possessed tools such as education were the ones who benefited in the new economy (White). Therefore, Hispanics who had low literacy skills were isolated in the new economy. The effects of the globalized economy have been translated even in the modern United States economy. In this case, the internationalized economy has consistently isolated Hispanics because they lack necessary academic tools to compete in the labor market (White). Also, education continues to create disparities among Hispanics and Caucasians because even the manufacturing and construction industry that harbored many Hispanics have been expertise and they require some forms of academic qualifications. Thus, education attainment is the reason why Hispanics have been consistently isolated in the American economy (White).
In light of the above facts, we can conclude that Hispanics are more probable to suffer poverty than Caucasians due to education levels. Hispanics have low levels of education attainment compared to the Caucasians a factor that makes them less competitive in the economy. Various studies have indicated that education is the ultimate equalizer because it equips students with the necessary skills that are required to compete in the labor market. However, Hispanic have been consistently isolated in the education system by attending low-income school, going through less competitive curriculum and lack of financial aid to assist them in their academic process. In addition to that, due to the continuous racial profiling in the United States education system, many Hispanics drop out of school, and those who manage to complete the whole academic process do not have necessary literal skills to compete with their Caucasian counterparts. For that reason, education is the primary contributing factor to the economic realities of the Caucasians.
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