You wouldn’t know it from watching cable television, but education is more important for Hispanic voters than the issue of immigration.
A recent poll conducted by Democratic polling firm Beck Research confirms just how important education is for Hispanics across the country. What’s more, the poll found strong support among Hispanics for greater choice and competition in order to improve the educational system.
The findings of the poll were presented at the National Press Club at a press conference moderated by Kevin P. Chavous, a senior advisor to the American Federation for Children and the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (Hispanic CREO).
Many of the Hispanics polled for the survey reside in swing states such as Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Florida, and New Jersey.
Hispanics’ concern for education policy is welcome news as our country struggles to raise academic achievement nationwide. However, many policymakers have been satisfied to simply increase funding for education in the hopes that it would translate into academic achievement. But with a high school drop out rate of nearly 50 percent for Hispanic students nationwide, it is clear that the educational system is failing to provide the fastest growing demographic with a quality education.
In addition to ineffective teachers and lack of accountability, many Hispanic families are forced to send their children to violent schools, making it increasingly difficult for students to graduate and earn high school diploma, which is vital in today’s highly competitive workplace.
Perhaps this is why a strong majority of the Hispanics polled for the survey agreed that “opportunity scholarship programs give children from low income families a way out of failing schools so they are not forced to wait indefinitely for their local schools to improve.” Even more encouraging, Hispanics polled for the survey seem to reject liberal arguments that school choice is detrimental to public schools, agreeing that greater school choice is a positive force.
Hispanics, like all families, desperately need greater choice in deciding where to send their children to school. School choice, vouchers, and educational tax credits will help inject choice and competition into an increasingly outdated and inefficient school system.
The poll’s findings confirm that for America’s fastest growing demographic, receiving a quality education is an important ingredient in living out the American Dream.
Israel Ortega is the Editor of Heritage Libertad, the Spanish-language page of The Heritage Foundation. You can follow him on Twitter: @IzzyOrtega