Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Listening to Latinas: Barriers to High School Graduation

This week a report was released by the National Women's Law Center and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund on the alarming rates of Latinas dropping out of high school. According to the report, 41% of Latinas do not graduate from high school with their class in four years, if they graduate at all.

While there are many factors associated with the dropouts, the high teen pregnancy rate for Latinas — the highest of any ethnic group — is a primary barrier. In fact, almost half of Latinas who drop out of high school do so because of pregnancy and parenting responsibilities.

So what can be done?

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy started a Latino Initiative to address this pressing issue. To find out more, visit The National Campaign. Here you will find a wealth of resources, media appearances, and updates.

The National Campaign has taken the lead when addressing this issue, but I believe there is something we all can do. The first step is to become informed and to be aware of the unique hurdles Latinos are facing. The second step is to share the information you learn with others, especially educators and policymakers who are making important decisions. And finally, get involved when possible. Invest in the future of Latino children. Connect Latinas with role models and engage them in goal setting. Mentor a Latina to ensure they are prepared for post-secondary education. Teach your children to live in environments that are culturally inclusive and free of race, ethnicity, and gender discrimination. Be vocal that all South Carolina students are receiving comprehensive, sex education messages.

There is a role we all can play. What is yours?

by: Cayci Banks, Director of Communications, SC Campaign
Contact Cayci:

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