Hispanic parents aspire for their children to have a higher education, graduate college and attend graduate school. (Getty Images)

Poll: For Latinos in Texas, schools are the heart of the community

For Latinos in Texas, education is very personal.  Hispanic parents have high aspirations for their children’s education; over 90 percent of parents want their children to graduate college and over 60 percent of parents want their children to further their education and pursue a graduate or professional degree, says a new Latino Decisions/Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) survey.

When asked if after high school participants would prefer their child to secure a full-time job or go to college, and 85 percent chose college over the job.

The poll found that Latino Texans are deeply connected with their local schools and over 67 percent are aware of the $5 billion 2011 budget cuts on public schools.  Not only are Latino Texan parents well-informed, but families are very engaged by volunteering and helping to fund-raise for their local school events.  Eighty-two percent attend school events, board meetings, school plays and football games, bringing the people together for civic participation.

Since the Latino population is much younger (26) than the non-Hispanic white Texan population (41), 77 percent have children previously or currently enrolled in public schools. The connection to the schools goes even deeper, with 40 percent reporting they have close family or friend who work in the district. Essentially, the poll shows parents are entrenched and their lives revolve around the school system.

Politicians beware, says the survey, when it comes to education and Latinos.  The authors claim three incumbent Republican legislators lost their seats to Latino Democratic challengers when they issue of school budget cuts became a defining campaign issue.  Latino Decisions interviewed 400 Latino adults from El Paso, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley from March 14-24, 2013.

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