Workforce Education for Latinos: Politics, Programs, and Practices

Workforce Education for Latinos: Politics, Programs, and Practices

Workforce Education for Latinos: Politics, Programs, and Practices

Workforce Education for Latinos: Politics, Programs, and Practices

Synopsis

The author examines political, curricular, and instructional issues in workforce education, and concludes that such policies are inequitable and that they are marginalizing Latinos. She proposes changes that will provide avenues for economic and educational advancement for Latino adults with low levels of formal education and literacy.

Excerpt

The demographic landscape of the United States has changed dramatically over the last several decades. Linguistically and culturally diverse groups have greatly increased in numbers. Latinos constitute the largest of the ethnic groups and have received much attention from business and the media. Business, for example, has studied and projected the economic and cultural significance of this group for years and has targeted Latinos through Spanish-language advertising and products geared specifically to them, such as foods, music, magazines, and television programs. The influence of Latinos in the United States has been so great that Time magazine published a special issue on June 11, 2001, entitled “The border is vanishing before our eyes, creating a new world for all of us: Welcome to Amexica.” It seems that educational institutions, however, are always lagging behind in coming to the realization that important societal developments are taking place that demand attention and a shift from outdated perspectives to new ones. High levels of bureaucratic inertia, at best, and xenophobia at worst, preclude change from taking place at a pace that keeps up with societal and cultural realities. Education for Latino adults is one such area.

Much of the current research literature has focused on curricular, instructional, and administrative issues that arise in working with Latino youth. Dual-language bilingual education programs, English-as-a-second-language curricula, culturally responsive pedagogy, and high-school dropout prevention constitute some of the areas of focus in the literature. Yet, most of this literature deals with preschool, elementary, middle, and

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