I contacted the Presidential Advisory Commission several years ago and I was told “We are going to put you out of business.” There are more dropouts from high school in New York City and around the country today and the Hispanic community knows it has been severely affected. Seventy percent of Puerto Rican high school students are dropping out of high school in Cleveland. Around sixty percent of Latinos drop out of school in Los Angeles. Hispanics tell me they are being kicked out of Central Islip High School on Long Island. Spanish GED testing has been way down for years and not enough Hispanics take and pass the GED. Fewer high school diplomas for Hispanics, fewer GED’s for Hispanics, more low paying jobs for Hispanics. Is there something wrong with the leadership of this country or not? Neither I nor the GED is going out of business soon, not with over 38 million adults without a diploma.
The commission report shows the members wanted to increase college graduation by ten percent. Some years there are increases in GED diplomas by ten percent up to forty percent (and some years where there is a decline). There were six years of economic growth, the Bush administration is proud of, that should have benefited the educational aspirations of the Hispanic community that Hispanics could point to and say “Wow! Our President and the Commission did a great job for us.” I will mention only two brief points about college enrollment and college success for Latinos. One is that when we look at the percentage of Hispanics annually who are doing the GED we see that it is around twenty percent, but Hispanics have such a high dropout rate that each community where this it taking place should look try to achieve a much higher percentage of Hispanics who take and pass the GED. The second item is what Tom Suozzi proposed in his run for Governor of New York State two years ago. He proposed paying college students (Hispanics who have a low success rate in college) $25 an hour to teach GED (my way). Do you hear that from McCain or Obama? Do you hear that from Villaraigosa? Do you hear that from Governor Acevedo in Puerto Rico? Do you hear that from any Hispanic elected official? Do you hear that from LULAC or NCLR? Do you hear that from Hispanic churches fighting for social justice? Do you hear that from 2 million Hispanics who own small businesses?
Six years have passed. Is Obama going to continue this commission and its policies? Is McCain going to continue this commission and its policies? Most Hispanics all over the United States, even in Wyoming, yes Wyoming, tell me that I am right and they have seen their friends drop out of school in New Mexico and other states. It would have been great if a few GED graduates had been placed on the Special White House Commission.
I WANT ALL OF MY HISPANIC READERS TO KNOW THAT YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO AFFECT POLICIES WHERE COLLEGE STUDENTS GET PAID $25 AN HOUR TO TEACH GED MY WAY, BUT YOU CAN MOBILIZE YOUR COMMUNITIES TO TAKE THE GED. THE IMMIGRANTS ARE THE LARGEST GROUP WITHOUT A DIPLOMA. IMMIGRATION MEETINGS, CITIZENSHIP DRIVES, AND VOTER REGISTRATION CAMPAIGNS ARE THOSE MEETINGS WHERE A MINUTE COULD BE USED TO TELL HISPANICS THAT EVERY MEMBER OF EVERY FAMILY NEEDS A DIPLOMA AND THAT HALF THE HISPANIC ADULT POPULATION WILL NOT BE LEFT BEHIND.