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Latino male dropout crisis focus of symposium

June 21, 2007

More than 40 local and national experts in the fields of at-risk education, educational policy, community outreach, and educational research will convene June 22-23 at ASU to address the Latino male dropout crisis at a forum sponsored by the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights.

The forum, “Preparing for College: Enrolling, Education, and Advancing Latinos,” will be an action-oriented gathering to help identify the essential components necessary for an actionable, scalable intervention program. It will take place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Phoenix.

Officials with the center have envisioned a program that addresses academic needs, as well as the social, economic and policy issues that affect the ability of Latino males to persist in the academic pipeline.

Raul Yzaguirre, ASU's presidential professor of practice and executive director of the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights, underscores the importance of addressing this important issue.

“The young Latino male dropout crisis, if unabated, has the potential to condemn a large segment of the Hispanic community into a permanent underclass,” Yzaguirre says. “This underclass will exhibit all the pathologies associated with urban decay: a culture where going to juvenile detention or incarceration is merely a rite of passage or a badge of honor, a preponderance of out-of-wedlock births, family disintegration, functional illiteracy, limited job skills, loss of pride and loss of hope. The long-term consequences are devastating.”

He adds that interventions that establish a college education as a realistic option for at-risk Hispanic youth who complete the requisite college preparatory courses can make a transformational difference.

The center is in the College of Public Programs at ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus.