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To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month 2013, ‘LLERO presents a five-part series commenting on the issues and topics affecting Latino men from all walks of life. In this fifth and final installment one Latino man poses the question – Is the Latino Man Dying?

Like many doting fathers, I want my little girl to be the best at whatever she does. Part of that means beating the best, including those little boys who I believed, also like many doting fathers, will never be quite good enough for her. Yet, I am increasingly worried that as she moves up the academic and socioeconomic ladder, the number of Latino males expected to share her classroom is shrinking. It’s not because I am worried about her prospects of finding a financially stable partner for her to share her life. No, it’s because the quality of her educational and professional journey depends on it. So we must ask ourselves, in the realm of education and by extension career and socioeconomic progress — is the Latino man is dying?

The Numbers Support the Notion

Unfortunately this is more than just an observation. Despite the increasing numbers of Latinos completing high school and entering college, a dangerously large educational gender gap exists between Latino males and females. In 2010, Latina college enrollment outpaced Latino males 57.8% to 42.2%. With less than 40% (38.6%) of all Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees going to Latino men. If this 25-year plus trend continues, the projected difference in attainment of bachelor’s degrees could more than double over the next few decades.

In far too many circles, men and those who love us, have become accustomed to being absent from the conversation, especially in areas like early childhood education or teaching. Though there is a growing movement to reverse course, far too many people have left young male students to fend for themselves in the classroom, content in seeing them excel either on the streets or on the athletic field. Or to paraphrase academic scholars Victor Saenz and Dr. Luis Ponjuan, to let them choose “swagger over scholarship.”

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