The Tennessean reports on the pressures leading Hispanic high school students to drop out more frequently than black or white students.
"The dropout rate for Hispanics in Metro is 21.6%, nearly 4 percentage points higher than the dropout rate for all Metro students and higher than the dropout rate for blacks or whites."
"Statewide, the dropout rate for Hispanics last year was 17.1%, considerably higher than the overall dropout rate of 10.7% despite Hispanics constitute only 3.2% of all schoolchildren."
"'Academically, when they enter, they just feel hopeless,' said Metro Schools Director Pedro Garcia, himself an immigrant from Cuba. 'At 15, 16, 17, they have very little education. They are looking at being 20-something when they graduate, so they give up.'"
"For the adults, a lack of working English means the jobs they often qualify for are low-paying."
"The feeling of futility on both sides leads many parents to ask their children to simply drop out and get a job to boost the family income, said Josias Arteaga, who runs Hispanic Achievers, an educational outreach program for Hispanic children and their parents at the Harding Place YMCA."
The Tennessean profiles the work of Hispanic Achievers in a separate story:
"One program targets grade-schoolers and focuses on math, reading, writing and Spanish. Students from Harpeth Hall, a private all-girls school, work with elementary- and middle-school-age children on weekends and serve as role models, tutors and mentors."
"The high school program allows Hispanic students to choose courses that focus on careers. Hispanic professionals in those areas mentor the students and tell them the ins and outs of becoming a doctor, lawyer or engineer, for instance. They encourage the students to stay in school and think about long-range goals rather than short-term gains."
"The final approach of Hispanic Achievers is reaching out to parents, said Josias Arteaga, the program's director."