Latinos living along the border between Texas and Mexico reported feeling hurt by the state’s $5.4 billion in state education budget cuts two years ago, according to a new poll by the Texas State Teachers Association and the group Latino Decisions.
About 67% of those polled said they knew about the cuts and as a result noticed negative changes such as fewer teachers, cuts in after-school programs, cuts in transportation and supplies, overcrowding and larger class sizes, teacher pay cuts, and other problems. Most favored accessing the Rainy Day Fund for more school funds.
The survey clearly highlights that education, and not just immigration, is a key issue for Latinos.
“The importance of public education to border area Texans should not be underestimated,” poll director Sylvia Manzano said in a TSTA news release.
Those Hispanics polled also reported being quite engaged in their children’s schools, including by involvement in sporting events, fundraising, and meetings with teachers and principals. Additionally, the poll found most parents want their children to obtain a college degree.
“The results present a clear warning to those who promote blue collar job training for Hispanic students over increased access to a college education,” according to the Latino Decisions report. “When asked if it is better for their children to secure a job full-time after high school, or go to college full time, Hispanic parents chose full-time college over the job 85% to 10%.”
According to Latino Decisions, 400 Latino adults who live in El Paso, Laredo and The Rio Grande Valley were polled in March, with interviews conducted in English and Spanish. These findings are very interesting, but also must be placed into context. Southern Texas has many Mexican American residents and schools that are almost totally Latino, while there are areas further north, such as Dallas, which are predominantly immigrant, and yet the schools overall are more integrated.