The Hispanic community encounters many unique challenges. A literature review by Hill and Torres (2016) found that Hispanic families have high expectations for their children, but often encounter obstacles including cultural barriers and discrimination. Often, schools do not meet the high expectations for quality academic standards that are held by Hispanic parents. In many cases, Latino families do not receive the guidance and support from the schools in how and what they can do to help their children’s education. Schools that actively reach out to Hispanic families and work to facilitate strong cooperative relationships between students and their parents provide a more successful learning environment.
Educational achievement and the increased upward mobility of middle class Hispanic parents
Hispanics are the fastest growing population in the United States and are therefore crucial in the growth of a strong middle class. This reinforces how academic achievement matters and is essential for Hispanic youth. Obtaining a high school diploma and attending college are strongly tied to the social upward mobility of Hispanic adults (Robles, 2015).
The national average for test scores shows that Hispanic youth lag behind their non-Hispanic peers. The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) found that while the average literacy scores of African Americans and Asian Americans increased between 1998 and 2009, the average scores for Hispanics actually decreased. This underlines the need for Hispanic students to improve academic performance in order to reduce and eventually close the gap.
Baum and Flores (2017) found that there is a direct relationship between promotion of strong personal relationships with Hispanic students by the schools and greater academic success. These studies also highlight the importance of strong parent-school relationships to ensure the academic success of their children.
Student to student tutoring programs provide learning opportunities beyond traditional models
Warner et al (2011) found that programs in which school administrators, counselors and teachers identified and trained Hispanic high school students to be tutors resulted in the academic success of their peers and a more positive environment between students and teachers. These programs also allowed for teachers to improve their curriculum, thus better preparing these students for life beyond the classroom. Student to student tutoring cultivated confidence in students’ academic abilities.
Student to student tutoring works. It creates pride within the students who tutor, cultivating young Hispanic leaders. It empowers students seeking tutoring services to raise their academic skills to new levels. Student to student tutoring provides positive and rewarding learning experiences for everyone.
Schools need to take the lead in forming collaborative relationships with parents, teachers and students. Teachers, school administrators, and guidance counselors must be culturally sensitive to unique needs and strengths within Hispanic communities.
Schools need to be proactive in supporting Hispanic students by actively recruiting them to become tutors and ensuring that tutoring opportunities are always available. Schools need to provide student tutors with practical training and resources in order for them to help their classmates thrive academically.