The U.S. Department of Education released a study in 2012 that examined high school completion rates from 1972 to 2009. Overall, graduation rates have increased for all races and ethnicities, but Latinos have had the largest jump over the 27-year study. In 1972, only 56.2 percent of Latinos completed high school. That number jumped to 76.8 percent in 2009. During the same time period, whites went from 86 to 93.8 percent and African Americans went from 72 to 87.1 percent.

Experts cite several reasons for the increase in graduation rates. Factors such as accessibility of public schools, mandatory attendance laws, and better economic and social conditions that don’t require teens to choose work over school have certainly made things easier over the generations. However, I believe the experts neglected one very important item in their lists; they neglected the influence and sacrifices of Latino elders.

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