President Obama addressed the real issue for Latinos—and it’s not immigration

Last night, President Barack Obama glossed over immigration in the State of the Union speech for good reason. Instead, Obama spent time on a topic that’s crucial to the Latino community: Education. Our children are in what’s been described as a “silent crisis” by some experts. They are not getting a quality education or graduating.

As of 2008, our Latino children comprised 10 million students between kindergarten and high school in the nation’s public school system. That’s 20% of the total student population, and we’re growing at a fast clip. Unfortunately, our children are not graduating.  Hispanic dropout rates are a little over 18% (more than double the national average), according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

 

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To address the national dropout rate President Obama called for states to allow students to stay in high school until they graduated or turned 18.

But even students who graduate from high school do so with a subpar education. The No Child Left Behind Act under George Bush was a major failure, and we’ve been left with students whose education is geared toward test-taking. 

What’s more, I largely feel that our public school system does not do enough to remove bad teachers and reward the good ones.

Everything President Obama said about education resonated with me. These are precisely why our family fought hard to send our son to private school. There he’s getting the type of education President Obama envisions when he says educators should be given leeway to teach with creativity and passion and move away from curriculums focused on testing.

Ultimately, we need curriculums that teach children to think on their own about issues and come up with their own thoughts and ideas. It will drive the innovative thinking that the United States needs to succeed in a highly competitive global economy. I was a product of a public school education and mastered test-taking, but had a hard time my first year in college when I had to write an academic paper 25 pages long.

President Obama touched on one of the most important issues of our children’s generation—and you should support it. It is an economic imperative.

How do you think our nation should address our education crisis? Do you feel your child is getting a good education?

Image via cybrarian77/flickr