Why are young Latinas giving up before they are even trying?
I am so proud of my daughter Carolina! She is going to college to a top school with a full tuition Hispanic scholarship. The journey hasn't been easy for either of us, but I am grateful that she is among the young Latinas who are beating the odds.
Her journey and ultimate success got me thinking once again about the reasons why so many of our young Latinas are underrepresented in the more challenging or AP classes, why so many continue to drop out of high school, why do so many don't even consider going to college. Is it that they are being discouraged by peers, the system and their own parents before they even give it a try or is it all about economics?
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I've chatted with so many young Latinas who say "it wasn't considered cool by my friends to do well in school", "most of my Latina friends were not driven because they only heard words of discouragement from their friends and parents."
Others just fall through the cracks since their parents don't understand the system. I recently spoke to a mom whose daughter had a 3.8 GPA, yet she didn't know that she needed help preparing for the SATs (and couldn't afford the classes) since doing well in these tests is key to be considered by the leading schools.
Then there are others who would have to turn against their whole family to overcome a cultural barrier that considers sending girls to college a waste of time and money since "they'll end up staying at home taking care of the kids and the home anyway, because that's where they belong." Didn't many of us come to America to give our children better opportunities and a better future? Don't we want them to do even better than we have?
I feel so helpless! I wish I could help other moms and students learn to navigate the system, but I'm afraid we have to start by changing our attitudes and mindset first. And this doesn't even address an even bigger problem… I am seeing an even more concerning trend among our young Latinos. But that's a whole different topic and a host of other issues that are leading to this trend.
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