TOWARDS CLOSING THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP: INCREASING ACADEMIC PREPAREDNESS AND AMBITION AMONG LATINO STUDENTS

As the fastest growing minority population in Washington State, the Latino population in K-12 schools has grown by 372 percent since 1986;1 Latino students comprised 14.6% of the K- 12 population in Fall 2007, and are expected to experience a 150% growth in population by 2030.2 The ever-increasing achievement gap has drawn attention to the ongoing failure of Washington State to generate the capacity to educate first-generation and language-minority students. Alarmingly, only 56.9 percent of Latinos in the 2005 cohort graduated from high school. Even of those students who did achieve diplomas, less than 25 percent graduated college- ready.3 Furthermore, while only 7.7% of Whites in Washington have less than a high school diploma, a staggering 43.8% of Latinos never graduated from high school.4 These inconsistencies have compelled critical conversations among scholars, educators, policy-makers, and community members, who are beginning to ask why Washington State has failed to engage in effective development of equal opportunities for all students.

 

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