Eva Longoria-Funded Study Looks At Improving Educational Success For Latinas

Young Latinas who have Hispanic mentors and teachers seem to have a greater chance of succeeding in high education, a new report shows.

The report, titled “Making Education Work for Latinas in the U.S.,” by the University of California’s Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles, examined the existing knowledge base about promoting Latinas' educational success and found that involvement in extracurricular activities contributes to having a sense of “belonging” at school. The findings of the study were released Monday.

“Latinas are the linchpin of the next generation – how a child fares in school is highly correlated with their mother’s education,” said Patricia Gándara, the study’s principal investigator, in a statement. “If the cycle of under-education is to be broken for the Latino population, it will depend to a large extent on changing the fortunes of young women.”

The report, along with a companion video, was commissioned by actress Eva Longoria, founder of the Eva Longoria Foundation, which works to empower Latinas "to reach for their full potential."

"We were frustrated to primarily find analysis of what does not work for Latinas, and we wanted to find out what does," Longoria said in a statement. "The findings from this study will help us fine-tune our education work, and we hope others will use this research to support Latina achievement."

The study examined two large data-sets, one national and one California-based, to determine predictors of successful educational outcomes for representative samples of Latina youth. It incorporated case studies of seven young Latinas from varying circumstances who found educational success through high school, community college and four-year universities.

By doing so, UCLA found that a strong belief by parents that their daughters will complete high school was also associated with increased high school graduations and college attendance rates among Latinas. Additionally, being bilingual and having good math scores in elementary school were positive indicators for success.

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