John McCain and Barack Obama have largely avoided discussing immigration during the presidential campaign. But when it comes to the legal side of the issue, they both seem to support the status quo: an official policy centered around low-skilled, predominately Hispanic immigrants. A forthcoming book shows just how misguided that policy is, especially in light of the nationâ€™s current economic woes. The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policies, by Patricia Gandara and Frances Contreras, offers an unflinching portrait of Hispanicsâ€™ educational problems and reaches a scary conclusion about those problems' costs. The book's analysis is all the more surprising given that its authors are liberals committed to bilingual education, affirmative action, and the usual slate of left-wing social programs. Yet Gandara and Contreras, education professors at UCLA and the University of Washington, respectively, are more honest than many conservative open-borders advocates in acknowledging the bad news about Hispanic assimilation.Hispanics, and particularly Mexicans, are academic underachievers because their culture does not value education. In contrast, Chinese and some other nationalities of Asian immigrants excel in the same schools where Hispanics do poorly, because Asians understand that the path to success in America starts in the classroom. Hispanics, not so much: just 9.6 percent of fourth-generation Mexican Americans have a post-high-school degree, compared with 45.1 percent of Americans as a whole.
Hispanics are underachieving academically at an alarming rate, the authors report. Though second- and third-generation Hispanics make some progress over their first-generation parents, that progress starts from an extremely low base and stalls out at high school completion. High school drop-out ratesâ€”around 50 percentâ€”remain steady across generations. Latinosâ€™ grades and test scores are at the bottom of the bell curve. The very low share of college degrees earned by Latinos has not changed for more than two decades. Currently only one in ten Latinos has a college degree. [...]
California provides a glimpse of what such changes might mean for Americaâ€™s economic future. The Center for Public Policy and Higher Education predicts that unless the rate of college matriculation among â€?underrepresentedâ€? minorities (that is, Hispanics) immediately rises, the state will face an 11 percent drop in per capita income by 2020. [Honesty from the Left on Hispanic Immigration, City Journal October 8, 2008]
A recent education article made the same point of increasing underachievement among Hispanics [Report: Minority college attainment up, but stalls, AP, October 9, 2008]:
However, significant gaps among racial groups remain, and by some measures are widening. In 2006, among 18- to 24-year-olds, 61 percent of Asian-Americans were in college. That compares with 44 percent of whites, 32 percent of blacks and 25 percent of Hispanics.Meanwhile, ethnic cheerleader broadcaster Jorge Ramos is still cheerfully touting an eventual majority-Hispanic USA, recently on the Colbert Report.
Department of Education figures show that in 2006, 18 percent of older Hispanics had at least an associate's degree, compared with just 16 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds. Council researcher Mikyung Ryu said the numbers do not suggest that's simply because students are delaying getting an associate's degree until after 30.
"The fact that this younger generation is attaining less than the older generation should really be ringing bells across this nation, and we really should be asking ourselves why," said Dolores M. Fernandez, president of Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College, which is part of the City University of New York.
Talk about a recipe for societal failure—importing one of the most progress-resistant cultures on earth is surely the top ingredient.