Latinos have steadily been drifting away from traditional public schools over the past few decades, sending an ever-growing share of Latino students to private schools.
Even in Los Angeles County, a bastion of Latino population, Latino enrollment at private schools has increased by 25 percent since 2008, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In the latest sign of the trends, Spanish-language newspapers across the nation have reported a significant drop in Latino GPA’s, a standard for measuring student performance.
Over the past three decades, the percentage of Latino students in the district’s public schools has declined from 40.4 percent to 28.6 percent, according to the California Department of Education. And the percentage of Latino students in the county’s private schools has risen from about 1.5 percent to 10.1 percent.
In the same time, Latino enrollment at traditional public schools increased by less than 1 percent, from 10.8 percent to 11.2 percent, the Times reported.
At West Los Angeles’ John Muir Academy, high school graduation rates for Latino students are almost 70 percent. California’s Department of Education defines graduation rates as a school’s high school students graduating in four years. In the current school year, nearly 58 percent of Latino students at that school graduated.
The drop in Latino GPA’s mirrors a decline in students passing standardized tests. One of the best-known demographic indicators of Latino students’ success is their statewide test scores, but a Times analysis of fourth- and eighth-grade math scores found a similar decline in high school test scores.
Dianne Grimes, president of John Muir, told the Times that “there is a distinct difference between a stagnant student body and one that is on a down slope.” He said the school has worked hard to recruit and retain new students, with some 90 percent of their freshman class now Hispanic.