UF to host statewide symposium June 13 addressing plight of ‘vanishing Latino males’ in Florida’s schools and colleges

GAINESVILLE, Fla.—Education and community leaders and Latino male students from Alachua County and around the state will gather at a University of Florida-hosted, interactive symposium June 13 to discuss strategies for helping Latino males overcome the overwhelming barriers they continue to face in Florida’s schools and colleges.


The “Latino Boys in Peril” workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. at UF’s Emerson Alumni Hall. Attendance is by invitation only.

UF’s College of Education is hosting the event, led by faculty researchers Luis Ponjuan, director of the college’s Institute of Higher Education, and counselor education scholar Mary Ann Clark.

The researchers will lead an interactive discussion of their findings from a recent, year-long investigation of Florida’s educational system. “We will actively discuss the challenges and the potential partnerships we could forge to develop new interventions that may assist Latino students in their educational journey from high school completion to college enrollment and degree completion,” Ponjuan said.


Ponjuan, Clark and co-researcher Victor Saenz from the University of Texas at Austin, who will also participate in the UF symposium, have been active in educational and political circles nationwide over the past couple years raising awareness of the plight of Latino male students in education, especially in higher education.

“An emerging trend shows that young men of color—particularly Latino Americans—are far less likely to attend or stay in college than other young men and women,” said Ponjuan, who last year participated in a national briefing on the topic on Capitol Hill.  “Considerable attention has been given to the plight of African-American males, but declining enrollment among young Latino men is even more pronounced. It’s a silent educational crisis because young Latino males are vanishing in higher education and no one is noticing.”

Latinos are now 15 percent of the U.S. population. Yet Latinos, or Hispanics, earn only 6 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, according to the American Council on Education. This is significantly less than whites, blacks and Asians. Latino males also have one of the lowest high school graduation and college enrollment rates in the country.

The research and UF symposium is supported by a grant from TG Foundation, a public, non-profit scholarship and educational support organization based in Round Rock, Tex.


SOURCE: Luis Ponjuan, director, University of Florida Institute of Higher Education, UF College of Education, 352-273-4313; lponjuan@coe.ufl.edu

WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news & communications, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137; llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352