In a recent op-ed, Raoul Lowery Contreras argues that California is home to America’s most formidable economy and “immigration is the reason why.”
California’s economic success, Contreras claims, is due to an increasingly well-educated and “highly productive” Latino workforce. “The days of highly uneducated Mexicans is evaporating before our eyes,” writes Contreras, citing decreasing high school dropout rates between 2000-2015 as proof of progress. But using dropout rates as a metric for educational achievement, and thus substantive economic productivity, is misleading.
Even as graduation rates in California among Latinos improve, proficiency in English and math range from problematic to dismal. The Education Trust-West, a progressive education watchdog, reports that as of 2017, “[t]here is not a single county in California where the majority of Latino students are proficient in math or English language arts.” In Los Angeles County:
the percentage of Latino students who were proficient in math was less than half the percentage of white students who were proficient. There was a difference of 30 percentage points between Latinos (27 were proficient) and white students (57 percent). . . . Latinos statewide posted no growth on this year’s state tests — 17 percent were proficient in math, slightly lower than in 2016, and 26 percent were proficient in English.
Read the full article in American Greatness.