Dr. David Daugherty, director of researcher for the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy was in Douglas on Jan. 30.
His key point of the night was the rapid growth of the Latino population in Arizona.
According to the Morrison Institute the major demographics headline in the United States during the past three decades has been the continuing increase in the Latino Population.
Daugherty explained that the increase is due to both a large scale of legal and illegal immigration and to the excess of births over deaths.
In 1980, Latinos made up 16 percent of Arizona’s total population the current percentage is 30 percent. Meanwhile the whites or non-Hispanic population has decreased from 75 percent to 58 percent.
Research shows that these trends are expected to continue and Arizona could reach a majority-minority status as soon as 2030.
Studies show that Arizona’s K-12 public school system reflects these changing demographics. Public school enrollment rate has increased steadily between 2001 and 2011. The largest growing group is Latino youth which has grown by over half in one decade.
Many people living in Arizona have blames the large flood of Latino students into an already strained public school system on illegal immigration. Many have over the years questioned the state’s responsibility to educate non-citizens.
Many Arizona Latinos enter schools already affected by critical disadvantages that have contributed to their lack of education during the past decade.
Studies show that the three main causes of poor education progression are:
· Poverty, the poverty rate among Arizona Hispanics has been more than twice that of non-Hispanics.
· Parental education, studies show that 65 percent of Latino adults in Arizona have no education experience outside of high school.
· Language barriers, most Hispanics first language is Spanish and this is also the language that is spoken at home.
Dr. Daugherty also explained why there is such a huge gap in educational attainment between Arizona’s whites and Latinos in the first place.
· Single-parent households, children in single parent households do not perform as well academically as those in two parent families.
· Unstable family income high poverty, food insecurity, and employment are outgrowths of having a low income and all negatively affect a child’s educational achievement.
· Talking and reading to babies and your children, before starting kindergarten, differences in children’s academic abilities are measured. Those with lesser abilities had not been read to by their parents as frequently as others and, more generally, did not bear as many words spoken.
Dr. Daugherty believes that no one group or viewpoint will get all it wants, but feels that Arizona may get what it needs by doing the following.
Making high quality early childhood programs universal and implementing them first in Latino neighborhoods.
Recognizing that a one-size fits all funding curricula formulas are not doing the job. Improving the pipeline that moves Latino students from high school into higher education, especially in technical fields and pressing for a federal education initiative for Border States.
Unless something is done to improve Latino educational achievement, Dr. Daugherty and his researchers feel that Arizona’s population of under educated workers will continue to grow. Furthermore, low education levels can lead to collateral problems such as above average unemployment levels, low annual incomes, a high proportion of residents in poverty and reduced state revenues.