Half of Latino population doesn't have high school diploma
Nearly half of Yuba City's Latino population had less than a high school education in 2014, according to a report published by national nonprofit Jobs for the Future.
The data, sourced from American Community Survey (part of the U.S. Census Bureau), showed the state average in 2014 for those with less than a high school education was 19.3 percent, and the rate of the local Latino population was 47.4 percent.
The second highest came from the Asian population (which also includes those of Indian descent) with 29.1 percent, and the white population with 8.4 percent.
"We have a major issue and need to identify opportunities to improve educational attainment in our minority communities," said Darin Gale, economic growth manager for Yuba City, in an email. The workforce development report that included the statistics included recommendations to create career pathways that feed into the local agribusiness and health care sectors.
Nancy Aaberg, superintendent of the Yuba City Unified School District, said the district utilizes a two-fold approach in supporting its English-learning students, who make up about one in five students in the district.
"The state has a much better program designed for English-learners ... but it took a long time to develop," Aaberg said.
That program comes in two parts: The first is a designated portion, which can be replaced with an elective class, in which teachers with specialized training give a formal lesson in the English language, including grammar and syntax.
The second part is integrated, where the students apply what they've learned back in their general classrooms. Aaberg said all of the district's teachers are certified in English language development in the integrated part of the day. Each school has a number of teachers who are certified for the designated part. Aaberg said the approach is to help students "really interact with the academic language."
'Fear in these statistics'
Francisco Reveles, the new superintendent of the Yuba County Office of Education, said the Latino statistic is changing, but it's a work in progress.
"It's more than a language barrier," Reveles said. "You have to look at it from a macro perspective." Reveles recalled his childhood in Texas, being the quarterback of his high school football team and valedictorian and then going home to a shower of a bucket and a can.
"It's a constellation of factors," Reveles said. He pointed to inadequate housing, unemployment, unsafe living conditions, access to equal opportunities with education and careers and children having major responsibilities at home.
"There's fear in these statistics," Reveles said. "It reflects a survival way of looking at the world."
He said to change that outlook from survival to success, schools need a curriculum that is culturally relevant: students must have stronger literacy levels earlier on; and schools must raise educational dialogue to put college on students' agendas early on.
"It's a collective responsibility," he said, though that doesn't mean to issue blame. "It's not a lack of aspiration."
Aaberg said that while it is easier for elementary school teachers to get to know their students' parents because the classroom size is smaller, parents of middle and high schoolers are also receptive and active.
"Parents of Hispanic children are very supportive of their education and very supportive of the work we do," Aaberg said. "We are very fortunate for our parent community."
Although Reveles stressed the importance of parental involvement with their children, he echoed Aaberg's sentiment.
"I'm encouraged by the caring I've seen here by educators ... and parents," he said.
Aaberg pointed to a flaw in the statistic, saying the age of those represented would be more telling of the change in school district programs.
"The good news is graduation rates are up and drop out rates are down," Aaberg said. "The graduation rates at both of our high schools are above 95 percent. Twenty percent of those students are English language learners."Half of Latino population doesn't have high school diploma - Appeal-Democrat: News:
Sutter County One Stop
Offers an Adult Education program to improve reading or math skills, in addition to preparation for the General Educational Development test or to complete an adult high school diploma. It also offers English as a Second Language classes that funnel into the regular Adult Ed classes. One Stop also provides career technical training. For more information, go to its website: sutteronestop.com.
Yuba Community College
Yuba Community College also offers a wide variety of ESL classes ranging in skill. See every course they offer at: tinyurl.com/htl2r65.
Alliance for Hispanic Advancement
This group of community members help provide scholarships to Hispanic students, as well as a wide range of activities and programs to combat issues faced by the local Latino community. For more information, go to its website:tinyurl.com/jpcmufg or visit its Facebook page.Half of Latino population doesn't have high school diploma - Appeal-Democrat: News: