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There is a near-perfect way to predict a child’s educational and health future.
A mother’s education.
Sadly, Latinas have the lowest high school graduation rates and some of the lowest college completion rates of all women, according to a new report.
The report, Fulfilling America’s Future: Latinas in the U.S., 2015, is an exploration of the state of Latinas by Patricia Gándara, research professor and co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, and the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics.
“As a group, Latinas begin school significantly behind other females and without adequate resources and supports, they are never able to catch up to their peers,” according to the report.
So, how can Latinas catch up?
The State of U.S. Latinas
One in five U.S. women is a Latina.
One in four female students in public schools is a Latina.
Latinas have made great strides in recent years in education.
Latinas’ high-school graduation and college degree rates are rising slowly but steadily, despite still being behind that of other women, according to Gándara’s report.
But the news isn’t all good.
Latinas earn less than Latino men in the labor market. Fewer Latinas get a degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) than other women.
Poverty is a Key Barrier for Latinas
Latinas are more likely to be obese and living in poverty than white women.
Kids from low-income families are behind in vocabulary and reading skills. By age three, these kids hear 30 million fewer words than their peers. They also face additional barriers to good health.
To break the cycle of under-education, poverty, and poor health, it is critical to understand the status of Latinas in several areas, like early and higher education.
Gándara’s report covers many of these areas:
- Latinas and Diversity
- Latinas and Education
- Latinas and Labor Force Participation and Earnings
- Latinas in the Professionals
- Latinas and Small Business
- Latinas and Housing
- Latinas as Single Heads of Households
- Latinas and Health
- Latinas and Political Participation
Knowing the issues Latinas face in these areas is the first step toward action for improvement.
Early childcare is a great place to start.
Access to quality childcare is one of the subtle differences in opportunities afforded to men and women, because women must often choose between working and having their children safely cared for.
Providing high-quality early childcare for Latina moms can help close opportunity gaps and boost access to educational and employment opportunities, which reduces the cycle of poverty.
Additionally, investing quality early learning is critical to close word gaps and boost early childhood development, academic success and lifelong wellbeing.
For every $1 spent on high-quality preschool, there is a $7 return through unique barriers to school success, according to a fact sheet from the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics.
“The cost of equalizing opportunity for Latinas today is far less than paying for the consequences of inequality in the future,” according to Gándara’s report. “Doing so will help to fulfill the promise of this nation for all Americans.”
Share this post if you want to see more Latinas enrolled in quality early childcare programs, earning equal pay in STEM fields, and elected to political offices!