Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gándara and Contreras: Rescuing the American Dream

I just finished the new book, The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policies, by Patricia Gándara and Frances Contreras (HUP, out in January). Written in an accessible style but with copious footnotes and references for those so inclined, the book documents where we are now, and where we might go, in our education, and care of, the Latino population. Fast-growing and largely neglected, this population's characteristics are documented in the book with charts, tables, statistics, and heart-wrenching stories about dreams deferred and aborted. I was particularly struck by the portraits the authors make of a number of Latino and Latina youths who overcome barriers, and of those who do not.

In the last few pages of the book, Gándara and Contreras outline a policy agenda to address the need.
  • Better health care and access to social services
  • Subsidized preschool programs
  • Housing desegregation and stabilization initiatives
  • Target recruitment and better preparation for teachers
  • Immigration policy reform
  • Support for dual-language education
  • Dropout prevention and college-access programs that support the connection between school and home

The buzz on this book is palpable, and I expect it to be discussed and widely reviewed. I have tapped one of my colleagues to review it for Education and Culture.

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