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The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policies

Authors: Patricia Gándara, Frances Contreras
Date Published: January 15, 2009

The challenges that face Latino students threaten to undermine the academic accomplishments and economic prospects of the U.S. as a whole. This book examines the educational landscape for Latino students, looks at policies that have failed to support Latino families, and suggests specific policies that can address these problems.
The Latino Education Crisis Cover

Harvard University Press, Copyright © 2009
ISBN 0-67404-705-2 (paperback)

About the Book

“American schools are sleepwalking into a perfect storm — rapid demographic changes, an unforgiving global economy, and continually dysfunctional school…This is the book that everyone who cares about the American future should read and pass on to a friend.”

— Carol and Marcelo Suárez-Orzoco, authors of Learning a New Land: Immigrant Students in American Society.


Will The United States have an educational caste system in 2030? Drawing on both extensive demographic data and compelling case studies, this powerful book reveals the depth of the education crisis looming for Latinos, the nation’s largest and most rapidly growing minority group.

Richly informative and accessibly written, The Latino Education Crisis describes the cumulative disadvantages that too many children face in the complex American school systems, where one in five students is Latino. Many live in poor and dangerous neighborhoods, attend impoverished and underachieving schools, and are raised by parents who speak little English and are the least educated in any ethnic group.


  • Introduction: A Call to Action
  • The Crisis and the Context
  • On Being Latino or Latina in America
  • American Schools and the Latino Student Experience
  • Is Language the Problem?
  • Inside the Lives of Puente Students
  • Beating the Odds and Going to College
  • The Costs and Effectiveness of Intervention
  • Rescatando Sueños — Rescuing Dreams
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