By Caroline Hondo, Mary E. Gardiner, Yolanda Sapien
Latino highschool scholars in rural groups discuss throwing in the towel of college.
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Additional info for Latino Dropouts in Rural America: Realities and Possibilities
Poverty in rural communities is a contributing factor to the drop out rate. One study suggested that rural communities display a ubiquitous acquiescence to higher Latino dropout rates (Jordan, McPartland, & Lara, 1999). Rural populations may place less emphasis on high school graduation for a variety of reasons, social or economic. Researchers such as Hodgkinson & Obarakpor (1994) have drawn attention to the rural economic situation by contrasting it with poor metropolitan areas. Their study highlighted the disparities and lack of services in rural areas, including inequitable education, inadequate health care, and lack of access to public transportation.
Now, it is very clear to me what my passion is. It is to reach the children who are forgotten. I took a personal interest in this book because the students’ testimonies brought back many memories of my own childhood struggles. I found myself reliving and sharing with these students many of the same feelings, thoughts, and reactions to the realities of their lives. Tragically, our schools lack the compassion and the will to eliminate some of these realities, which are as harsh and oppressive for the Mexican students of today as they were for me 30 years ago.
Involvement in this study solidified for me the importance of the role of educators in building a community of learners who value and appreciate the differences and gifts of all students. As a nation, diversity is our strength. Mary In one way, I am a “gringo” as a White immigrant to the United States from Australia, and am aware that I can never speak for the Latina/o students in our study. But I am more importantly a social justice advocate who uses my gifts as a researcher and writer to serve those who are often forgotten in our schools: the poor of all ethnicities, Latina/os, American Indians, African Americans, and rural students.