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October’s Brown vs. Board Challenge: A Focus on Latino Students

<< #OurChallengeOurHope Homepage

In conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 through October 15, our #OurChallengeOurHope campaign focuses on the educational and societal challenges facing Latino students, as well as the prominent role they will play in the growth of the American economy going forward.


How Latino Students Are Boosting the Nation’s Economy

Between 2000 and 2015, the percentage of Latino students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools increased from 16 percent to 26 percent while the percentages of White students fell from 61 percent to 49 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. From 2015 to 2027, the percentage of Latino students is expected to continue to increase—from 26 percent to 29 percent—while the percentage of White students will fall from 49 percent to 45 percent.

As Latino students become a larger component of the K-12 student population, we must ensure they receive an education that prepares them for future success. In some ways we are–and they are delivering benefits to the economy in return–but in many other ways, we are not.


Join the conversation

As you think about the rapid growth of Latino students, what challenges and opportunities do you see for the nation’s schools? How can educators work to recognize the rich history and culture that Latino students bring to our schools?

We encourage you to add your voice to the conversation using #OurChallengeOurHope. We also encourage you to reach out to your local school districts, colleges, and universities about the need for adequate academic preparation programs, cultural support services, and engagement activities specifically for Latino students.


Challenging Racial Segregation Before Brown v. Board

Eight years before Brown v. Board of Education, five Mexican American families in Orange County, California brought a class action lawsuit to dismantle their segregated school system.

In Mendez v. Westminster, Gonzalo Mendez and four other parents, on behalf of 5,000 Mexican American families, argued that students were segregated into separate schools basely only on their national origin.

“The school was a terrible little shack,” said Sylvia Mendez, whose parents brought forward the case, in a video about the case from PBS LearningMedia. “In fact, when we had to eat lunch, we would go outside and eat lunch at tables that were right next to the cow pasture so we’d get all the flies there from the cow pasture.”

Mendez v. Westminster was a starting point for dismantling segregation in other areas of life in California, including housing, restaurants, swimming pools. One year after the case was decided, the state repealed two statutes that segregated Asian American and Native American students in schools.


RESOURCES

Why I Teach Where I Teach: To Be a Positive Light for Latino Students

“Many of the students I work with are DACA recipients or are undocumented immigrants,” writes Sarahi Monterrey, Wisconsin’s 2018-19 high school teacher of the year. “In a time when there is so much hateful rhetoric against immigrants, I want to be a positive light for students. I want them to feel proud of who they are and where they have come from. I want to be there to encourage them to accomplish their dreams. When I first started teaching at my current school, I was the only Latina teacher there. Now, there are a handful of us and I know that our presence in their educational experience has a profound impact on them.”

The Hispanic Educational Resources and Empowerment (HERE) Act of 2019

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities has created a resource page on the HERE Act with more details on the bill and an interactive map showing present and emerging school districts serving Hispanic students, along with Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Emerging HSIs.

Educators Fear Dramatic Raids on First Day of School Will Leave Lasting Trauma

“The trauma these students have endured is inconceivable,” Mississippi Association of Educators president Erica Jones said when news of the raids first broke. “The effect this raid will have on their long term mental and emotional health is profound,” Jones said.

Back to School but Nothing’s Normal. Schools Mobilize to Help Children of Immigrants After Traumatic Summer

“We’ve seen a huge increase in anxiety for our students,” says Jasmine Tarver, director of mental health and support services for the KIPP charter network’s Southern California schools. “[They’re] worried about their parents or someone in their community who might not be there when they get home … even if they don’t have anyone undocumented in their families.”

Ten Things to Know About Trauma and Learning

Research from neuroscience highlights that adolescence represents a critical period for brain development—second in importance only to early childhood. Trauma can impede this development by interfering with critical processes that comprise the neurological foundation for learning. 

How to fix education’s racial inequities, one tweak at a time

Pasadena City College has seen the rate at which Latino students complete associate degrees or certificates and transfer to four-year colleges rise by over 9 percentage points in five years, from 37 percent to 46 percent. That’s despite several years of crippling leadership turmoil, and during a decade when the proportion of students who are Latino rose from a third to half.

The Lasting Impact of Mendez v. Westminster in the Struggle for Desegregation

The Mendez case “symbolized the important crossover between different ethnic and racial groups who came together to argue in favor of desegregation,” writes Maria Blanco, Esq. in this special report from the American Immigration Council.

Unmaking “Hispanic”: Teaching the Creation of Hispanic Identity

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month also requires understanding how and why the distinct histories of a multinational, multicultural and multilingual group of communities were consolidated into Hispanic heritage in the first place, writes Stef Bernal-Martinez, a teaching and learning specialist for Teaching Tolerance and a Xicana documentary artist and educator.

Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.