Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Are Latinos Disenchanted with GOP Policy?

By Guestblogger Rena Mathena

This past Wednesday, the Colorado Confidential posted this article,
“State of U.S. Latinos has Suffered in Bush-led Union, Hispanic Leaders Say,” by Kate Bernuth, explaining the loss of Latino support during President Bush’s second term after noticing that nothing was much better than it had been in 2004, when Bush had 40% of the Hispanic vote, a record number for a GOP candidate.

After all the promises made by Bush during his first term that have yet to be completely accomplished, like reforming the immigration system, providing health care for uninsured Hispanic workers, and improving education opportunities for minorities and low-income families, it’s no wonder why the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Colorado is saying that the GOP will struggle to get a high percentage of the Hispanic vote. After listening to his last State of the Union address on Jan. 28, Bush did not seem to be advocating for his Hispanic voters and he hardly mentioned the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001, which he began to improve K-12 public education, especially for minority and low-income students. It almost seemed like he had given up, making it hard for most Latino voters to continue to support the GOP or to have believe that NCLB will continue and improve public education. The one vague promise is his proposed "Pell Grants for Kids" program, which has potential, but also needs to be further "fleshed out" before we can put much faith in it.

Looking at the statistics from 2004, 24% of Latino 16- to 24-year-olds dropped out of high school and only 25% of those who did graduate went directly to college. In 2006, 22.4% of Latino students dropped out of high school, and of those who did graduate, only 30.3% went directly to college. Not much of a difference when looking back on the grand promises of NCLB, implemented by Bush to repair the educational crisis.

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