Organization reacts to drop in Latino graduation rates

ROCHESTER — Members of Ibero-American Action League’s education task force issued a "call to action" during a July 3 press conference because of the recently announced drop in graduation rates for Latino students.

The Rochester City School District graduation rate dropped from nearly 45.5 percent to 43.4 percent, but for Latinos the drop was even bigger from nearly 44 percent to 38 percent, said Hilda Rosario Escher, Ibero’s president and chief executive officer.

"We can no longer stand by the sidelines as our children continue to be overlooked," she said. "We need to make this a priority. … Every child is worthy of the best education."

Ibero has invested resources in studying why Latino students are dropping out of high school and have made recommendations that the district should consider, said Judy Marquez-Kiyama and Donna Harris, assistant professor at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education, who conducted the study.

Inequalities in funding — for bilingual services as well as cuts in tutoring programs that help Latino students in meeting tougher state standards — also show the inequality in city education and contribute to the low graduation rates, said parents who attended the press conference at Ibero’s offices.

"As parents, as community members, we have to put pressure on other (Rochester city school) board members," said Belen Colón, "We are part of this community, too, and we deserve respect."

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