A good pathway to education starts in………… Family or kindergarten?

We all know that the first school is the family, but what happened when it is time to start  education at school level? . During the past State of the Union (February 12, 2013), our President spoke about early education and its importance in kids developments and their outcomes. The President also spoke about early education and its impact in preventing  teen pregnancy and increasing graduation rates.


It makes sense to talk about early childhood education, and how important it is, mostly ,when we see the funding cuts faced by schools/education  every year.

If education is the one that will determine our health and job outcomes/status,  It won’t be a surprise to see minorities been affected for many non-communicable diseases that are linked to life style, if we know the importance of education, what are we doing to reach the underrepresented population? What about the minorities?


Hispanics have become the biggest minority and according with U.S. Census Bureau Projections, the Hispanic population will increase” from 53.3 million in 2012 to 128.8 in 2060”. As Hispanic population grows, their academic achievement will impact U.S future. Increasing their access and graduation rate should become a priority for higher education institutions.

I am a Hispanic woman, seen myself in a classroom where I see the biggest minority being the less represented  makes me experience ambivalent feelings; on one hand I feel very happy and blessed of having this wonderful educational experience but on the other hand l feel sad and frustrated. I have started wondering : what are the barriers for Hispanics to reach higher education? is  having access to a 2 year (Associates college) or 4 years (Baccalaureate Colleges) enough? What is stopping them from graduate?.

I have many questions and I do not want to think that just our background (race/ethnicity/socioeconomic status) is the one defining the increased/decreased  access  to education (starting in kindergarten) or even worst our background is the only determinant of  the possibilities in getting  higher education.





Shaun Riebl, MS, RD

Ivy, thank you for stepping out and sharing your thoughts on a “touchy” topic. Also, I really appreciate your disclosure about what you feel while being here, furthering your education.

Its difficult to pinpoint what exactly stops Hispanic individuals from graduating, but the trends seem to be improving. Check out this report I found: http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/Advancing_Hisp.pdf

On pages 9 and 10 look at the columns “Hispanic Six-Year Grad Rate 2004” and “Hispanic Six-Year Grad Rate 2010.” There seems to be great improvements being made and that’s exciting.

However, then I think about how many Universities there are across the US and question it all.

I’ve travelled to Costa Rica three times, never be to PR (but want to!), worked with doctors from Mexico, and have friends from PR, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba and I have such an admiration for each of their cultures and work ethics.

While here in the States education may be perceived as a form of social status, from what I have seen in my friend’s families, education doesn’t hold such a firm grip. Values like family, friends, and faith seem to take precedence…things that we as Americans seem to have no time for in our “busy busy” lives.

Again, it was really cool to hear your perspective, especially on such a tough topic.

Ivy Valenzuela

Thanks for such as nice comments about the Hispanic cultures, and for sharing that report.
Indeed for most Hispanic families, education is important to improve our quality of life, but family, friends , religion and love play a bigger role in our lives.
It is a privilege for me to be in a same classroom with all you.

Shaun Riebl, MS, RD

No problem.

It’s so funny you wrote: “It is a privilege for me to be in a same classroom with all you.” because I feel the same way. Growing up in the States it is a gift to be able to interact and gain insights from everyone in these classes (including PFP).

See you soon!


It was an interesting topic. Honestly, I have noticed it before. I believe that a the root of that can be partly found in Hispanics culture. In cultures that family has an important role in individual’s life, graduate studies are pushed to the second order of importance.

Ivy Valenzuela

I think you are right and it goes beyond a culture, it includes immigration status and actually people’s background. Hispanics with higher level of education tend to remain in their countries or go out for further education or immigrate when they have found already a better job opportunity.
Some Hispanics that are born in U.S come from families with a lower level of education, who were forced to leave their country due to economic conditions, therefore , when they find a job, roof and food they feel that are complete and there is no need to look for a higher education. Again, I am not sure which are the real reasons..so I need to do my homework and look for the real roots!