7.25.2007

Education Top Issue for Latinos (but who cares?)

It appears that priority issues for the general public and Latinos differ dramatically.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows that 34 percent of Americans cite Iraq as the top national priority. The next closest issue was health care at 15 percent.

Meanwhile, Latinos in a Bendixen & Associates poll see Iraq (tied with Health) as the second most important issue at 26%. The top Latino concern? It's education--by a significant margin. Forty-one percentage (41%) of Latinos see education as their number one concern.

Additionally, 48% of Latinos rate the American public school system as poor or mediocre. Eighty nine percent (89%) see believe students are not held to high academic standards. Ninety-six percent (96%) believe that a lack of parental involvement in education as a major problem. And 87% believe that schools do not provide enough support for struggling students.

Unfortunately, Latino concern for education is given plenty of lip service but few solutions are offered. Actually, Latino parents are regualrly depicted in the media and in the world of educational policy as not caring about education. And since we supposedly don't care, it's alright to give our children crappy schools.

Ignoring Latino concerns is commonplace in America. For example, look at the current racist anti-Latino immigrant campaigns. Too few Americans seem bothered by the hostilities unleashed against Latinos as a result of the war against immigrants.

How is it possible that the country's largest minority group with 44 million people can have their concerns systematically ignored? A recent Pew Hispanic Center poll sheds some light on this question. It turns out that only 13% of Latinos voted in the most recent national elections.

Latino concerns are ignored because we don't vote.

If you do not vote in America, you don't have power, which allows those that do to run roughshod over you and your interests.

But there's power in numbers--and we have the numbers! Let's stop being patsies. Let's register to vote and then vote for those that best represent our interests.