Education is a Hispanic issue

Education is the top issue for Hispanic voters, according to a Zogby poll conducted for National Council of La Raza.

Education Trust has launched a web site in English and Spanish aimed at Latino parents. Among the depressing statistics in the report: Only 11 percent of Latino children will go on to earn bachelor’s degrees if current trends continue.

John Kerry is stressing college in speeches to minority groups. He’s set to speak in Phoenix to La Raza. In Chicago, he promised a mostly black audience a million more college graduates in his first five years in office. “In the tradition of the famously long-winded Clinton, he spoke for nearly an hour” to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, reports Fox. Black voters liked Clinton — but surely not for his tendency to go on forever.

The cost of college isn’t the real barrier. The problem is that many students — especially low-income blacks and Hispanics — don’t have the reading and math skills needed to pass college classes. If Kerry weakens the accountability provisions of No Child Left Behind, he’ll lower the number of college graduates, no matter how much he boosts scholarships or tutoring at the college level.

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  1. It really cracks me up to see the kinds of things that Kerry promises – things that are way out of his control. Promising that there will be million more black college graduates in his first 5 years is like promising that there will be more rain in the drought-stricken states while he’s in office. Besides, nowadays a college degree isn’t necessarily a ticket to a good paying job – look at all of the unemployed college graduates out there. My husband doesn’t have a degree – he works with computers and is self-taught. I have 14 years in education, and he makes almost as much as I do.

    The way to get more minorities into college and higher paying jobs is fixing the problem from the bottom – in the elementary schools, and there is no way that can be done in 5 years, no matter who you are.

  2. Kerry promised a million more college graduates over all. He wasn’t talking just about blacks. The number of graduates is projected to increase anyhow; his number exceeds the projections by 10 percent.

  3. So… is he going to build some new universities and colleges with his wife’s money? Or just prevent people from dropping out because they were admitted to programs too hard for them, by making up a “college lite” degree? Kinda like getting a certificate of attendance in preschool…

  4. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Too many think of a degree as this sack of gold that they are being cheated out of.

  5. Chris Haynes says:

    The article said 34% thought it was a top issue. The amount of people polled was 1000 with an error of +/- 3.2 % and the people were described as from across the country. When did 34 percent make it as a top issue? Were these 1000 people citizens? What was their income level? What qualified as Hispanic? Given 50 states that’s 20 per state counting Alaska and Hawaii. My Mother is a Texas-born American of Mexican descent(100percent)and Father is Oregon-born American of German-Jewish descent. I make a 6 figure income in the Bay area with a high school education(in computers instructing). Dumbed down degrees with liberal feelgoodism won’t make up for hard work, and a solid understanding of the 3 R’s.
    As for Kerry pandering to Jessie Jackson’s Rainbow we can count on Kerry to promise money to inner city education while telling them it’s not their fault…….. More money for the teachers union. Oh boy!

  6. theAmericanist says:

    Somebody doesn’t know how polls work. So, Polling 101:

    The easiest way to uderstand a poll is to ask: what is this FOR?

    That is, when the Bitching about Unions Media Project (BUMP) pays for a poll on which they issue a press release, it will generally show that most Americans hate unions — because that is what it is FOR, to promote the views of the group that paid for it. Just so with this one.

    That said, this La Raza poll doesn’t show anything out of whack with any other poll I’m aware of. If you ask people what issues matter to them, education always ranks high. Hell, if it ranks as low as the ‘top’ priority for only a third of respondents, that indicates that they were NOT looking for this result. I could write a poll that would have it at 2/3s — with a sample weighted for BUMP folks. (Poll Shows Most Value Education, Loathe the NEA: “According to a new poll….”)

    What’s the prejudice that challenges such a credible number as 34% of Hispanics considering education a top issue?

    The more broadly useful polls are the ones candidates use to figure out what to do. Obviously, you want to watch your sampling, because you want to know that you’re actually finding out about people whose opinions are useful to you. (One problem with these boards is that it is largely an echo chamber: folks who agree with each other, or who disagree in a very narrow range, confirming what ‘everybody knows’.) But the thing to know about polling is less the sampling and more the method.

    That means the Rule of 4 — that is, you give people four choices (but only 4): strongly this, a little this, a little that, strongly that. You don’t allow people a middle ground. That way, you can draw a line down the middle and say so many are this, and so many that — AND, even more important, you can measure intensity.

    That is, if you find that (say) 60% of respondents are this, and only 40% are that, you know something. But when you look at the 40% who are that, you might find that virtually all of ’em (30% of the total, say) are ‘strongly that’, while most of the ‘this’ folks (50% of the total) are just a ‘little this’.

    So while it may SEEM like good news for advocates of “this” that their side is ahead 60-40, their support is weak while the “that” base is very strong. That’s what most polling — or at least, the most useful and insightful forms — is for, to reveal things like that.

    Once you grasp that dynamic, you can see how issues polling is actually used in campaigns: you want to move the other guy’s weak support to undecided, and the undecided to break your way.

    I doubt ‘education’ will move votes much this year, but (as this piece reveals) La Raza wants to broker the perception that Kerry is speaking to Hispanic concerns, as defined by La Raza. (This just in: sun rose in east this morning, followed by widely scattered light.)

    What both Bush and Kerry are probing for — in polls that they DON’T make public — are the issues that make the other guy’s base shaky (Kerry wants to do this to Bush, more than Bush to Kerry), and which move votes their way (both guys).

    (smile) And folks wondering publicly if, cuz they have the same concerns about education as the rest of the public, Hispanics are really Americans (e.g., “were these 1000 people citizens?”) could scarcely be calculated to help Kerry more: that sorta thing motivates Latinos to vote Democratic.

  7. Richard Cook says:


    Way to go cuz!!

  8. “And folks wondering publicly if, cuz they have the same concerns about education as the rest of the public, Hispanics are really Americans (e.g., “were these 1000 people citizens?”) could scarcely be calculated to help Kerry more: that sorta thing motivates Latinos to vote Democratic.”

    Here we go again.

    All of theAmericanists long winded homilies follow the same set of rules, this one just subtitutes Hispanics for blacks. Here are the rules of discussion as set forth by this man who bristles arrogance in his writing:

    1. I am a sainted defender of the black race (or in this case the Hispanic race). Therefore, everything I say is bathed in the holy water of my sainted opinions.

    2. Since I am a sainted defender of the black/Hispanic race, everybody who has a different outlook than me is a racist.

    Not stated in the rules is the final rule: 3. theAmericanist doesn’t really care about the result of his sainted opinions in terms of consequences for any community. What he cares about is delivering stern admonitions to anybody who dares to challenge his halo.

    To be precise, I haven’t read any statements from any member of the political spetrum stating that anybody discounts the fact that Hispanics are Americans. This is a strawman that theAmericanist invented so that he could once again run through the formula outlined in Steps 1, 2 and 3 above. I have indeed read any number of correspondents who question whether American should have completely open borders or whether it should limit immigration in some way.

    This is a tired game, man. Give it up.

  9. And, now, a question for theAmericanist:

    We all know that you are the sainted messiah of the black and Hispanic communities. We know that your opinions and outlooks are sainted, and that anybody who dares hold other opinions and outlooks is a damnable racist.

    Here’s the question:

    What do you actually do for these communities? I mean besides blowing hot air on discussion boards.

  10. theAmericanist says:


  11. That’s what I thought.

  12. theAmericanist says:

    (grin) Another mis-statement: there is considerable evidence here that you DON’T think, dude.

    Chris Haynes, in the post immediately above the one you thought too long, had challenged the idea that Hispanics really think education is all that important, AND that 34% even means that most of ’em DO, anyway. He also added, in a part you QUOTED, man, that he questioned if those surveyed were citizens.

    I thought it was pretty clear he didn’t understand polling — not a surprise, they’re generally badly reported and most folks don’t use ’em professionally, anyway.

    So I noted how polls work, and how they’re used. I even used generic language so nobody could be confused about the technique: the Rule of 4, intensity, moving votes, etc.

    This particular poll was paid for by La Raza, for the purpose of promoting… La Raza. As Raoul himself said, “Our agenda is an American agenda.” The point of the poll was to say 1) Latinos want what Americans want, 2) La Raza wants what Latinos want, 3) so La Raza wants what America wants, so 4) Kerry and Bush better pay attention to La Raza.

    (grin) Everybody from the National Rifle Association to the NEA does the same thing, and Zogby happily cashes their checks — as does everybody else in the business. This is bread and butter stuff: it might as well be done by vending machine.

    Since Haynes had challenged the idea that 34% of “Hispanics” actually thought education is a top priority, and/or that 34% is sufficient to make education “a top issue”, I just noted: 1) that this is consistent with every issue poll I’ve ever seen for the 25 years or so I’ve seen such polls, 2) the only reason he seemed to be challenging it was that it was “Hispanic”, and 3) he had questioned if the 1,000 respondents were citizens.

    Um, those are all TRUE, dude. He said ’em. Didn’t you notice?

    And all you’ve got to say is to insult me and demand to see my resume in public?

    LOL — wow.

  13. Huh is right.

    So, now we know. You don’t actually do anything.

    Let me try to paraphrase my argument so that you might understand it.

    Nobody that I know of says that naturalized Hispanics are “not Americans.” You said that. Well, you tried to imply that those who don’t agree with you think this way. This is what is called “erecting in strawman” in Rhetoric 101. You erected this strawman in order to accuse, once again, those who you disagree with of racism.

    I have read a wide variety of commentary and opinion on all sides of immigration issues, particularly as it pertains to Hispanics. On the conservative side, it is true, people tend to argue that our borders should be secured and that immigration should be controlled. (I don’t have any particular opinions about this.)

    All of your arguments are constructed in this fashion. You are putting words in the mouths of imagined opponents and then trashing them for the sake of congratulating yourself on your sainthood. And, for good measure, you accuse or suggest that those who don’t share your view are racists.

    Why are you patrolling the universe in this fashion? Has it ever occurred to you that you might be the problem here? I would first suggest to you that it is an absurb notion that making these accusations does anything to help any person of any race. My other suggestion is, that if you are sincere in wanting to improve the lot of others, you might find a better way to do it that involves action.

  14. theAmericanist says:

    Yo, Steve: try the coffee from the pot with the green ring next time.

    This particular thread isn’t about immigration; it’s about JJ’s posting a news article on a Zogby poll commissioned by La Raza. It’s polite to stay within shouting distance of the subject.

    La Raza commissioned the poll to promote La Raza. There isn’t anything much newsworthy in the poll results. I mean, if 1,000 Hispanic respondents were surveyed and that showed 34% thought same sex marriage was a top priority, THAT would be newsworthy. (And La Raza would have suppressed it cuz it doesn’t promote their interests, or refused to pay Zogby cuz he’d screwed up his sample.) The results got fairly perfunctory coverage, as they should.

    But when Haynes huffed that the poll wasn’t credible, I thought it was worth noting how polls actually WORK.

    He had challenged the poll: “When did 34 percent make it as a top issue? Were these 1000 people citizens?”

    So I asked: “What’s the prejudice that challenges such a credible number as 34% of Hispanics considering education a top issue?”

    It’s not an outlandish #, and the purpose of the poll is obvious (to promote La Raza) so it’s hard to see how challenging such a commonplace result is anything BUT a prejudice. I mean — would he have questioned a story that said “Most Hispanic families made up of husbands, wives and children” by demanding to konw if they were citizens?

    I simply noted at the end that by challenging whether “Hispanics” are really Americans (he DID ask if the poll was conducted of citizens, ya know) because of opinions that are, well, perfectly consistent with all Americans for decades now, is precisely what La Raza (not to mention Kerry) wants from such results.

    This is too clear for you? Hell, you illustrate it yourself.

    By huffing about me, and immigration, and open borders vs, immigration limits in your posts, you’re sorta like the guy who tells a cop “I only had two beers” when the guy stops you for a busted tail light.

    What IS your story?

    (And if you really wanna know who I am, email me. I’m not shy — but the thread isn’t about ME, overly generous in her hospitality though JJ is.)

  15. My story is that your tactics are not those of somebody who actually cares about the issues you purport to care about. The subject of every one of your post is… you and your sainthood. You are incapable of understanding that this is what you are doing and this results in your inability to understand that you are doing it.

    Read my responses repeatedly until it sinks in.

    I would suggest that you steer entirely clear of any discussion of race. You seem to be completely ignorant in this area. I suspect, as I’ve stated repeated above, that you have no experience and no effective relationships in this area.

    You are delusional in believing that you have any other message than your repeated attempted to frame yourself as a saint seeking to punish racial heresy.

    I know a BS artist when I see one.

  16. theAmericanist says:

    Um… actually, I’m fairly sure the post that set you off was about the Rule of 4.

    Since you asked in public, and begging JJ’s indulgence: I worked in the U.S. Senate throughout the early 1980s, and in the House (principal spokesman for the then chair of the Immigration Subcommittee) at the end of the 80s and through 1990. That was how I got involved in immigration, because my boss at the time was the principal author of the last permanent increase in legal immigration. (skipping a bit, like a couple business ventures, a political column for a now defunct paper and my flirtation with the Congressional Black Caucus) Through the mid 1990s and through the end of the decade, I did a LOT of heavy lifting in the immigration debate, f’r instance as Communications Director of the Congressionally-mandated bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, most notably chaired by the late Barbara Jordan, for whom I wrote speeches and analyses, e.g, of the diversity visa lottery. (That was where I first wrote the whole riff on slavery and race discussed in other threads: she bought it, anyway.) I organized a political coalition that lobbied Congress from 1998-2000 on these issues, particularly how guest workers are replacing the Ellis Island model. (Go to the New Republic site and search my name if ya really wanna know: my brother calls the article “Paul Bullies Microsoft,” which, er, didn’t work.)

    At the moment, I’m writing a book about Theodore Roosevelt’s record on immigration and citizenship, and a novel about a black ballplayer who passed for white 100 years ago.

    None of which has much to do with the thread, but since this guy insisted: I do apologize.

    Um… who’s a bullshit artist, Stephen?

  17. Chris Haynes says:

    So now I’ve been lectured to by the Americanist. What a badge of HHHHHHonor…. I am of mixed descent just like everybody else in America. When they poll those of Hispanic descent they don’t even bother to see if their Citizens(or registered voters). Just like they don’t ask if they are citizens when they get free treatment in San Diego hospitals when apprehended at the border. The poll was for “the race”, as if mexicans were the only hispanics. I want to know things like income level, party affliation, region and were they Mexican-, Cuban-, Slavadoran-,Puerto Rican- American etc… as if Hispanic covered everything. We also see that African-American does not cover everyone. i.e How many countries are in Africa? I was wondering when your silly posturing would come my way.

  18. theAmericanist says:

    Haynes, like I said before, you don’t know jack about polling — and it shows.

    La Raza wouldn’t poll only “citizens’, because they don’t claim to represent only citizens. Besides, it can double the price of a poll to screen for self-declared ‘citizens’, and it is of absolutely NO value to try.


    Think about it — if only for the firs time. The only folks who WOULD poll only citizens, are actually much more interested in the far more useful distinction of registered voters, and even beyond that, “likely voters” in the elections in the fall.

    Get it?

    And — btw, since you raised the canard of the ‘they don’t ask when they look for treatment at the border’, perhaps you didn’t quite realize you were talking to somebody who KNOWS about this: as you obviously don’t. (Hearings in San Diego, LA, and DC: witnesses from, well, everybody. What do you know about it?)

    If somebody shows up without insurance at a welfare hospital in California, it is the smart move for the hospital to report them as undocumented, because that way the hospital gets reimbursed faster.

    (shaking head) Sheer ignorance.

  19. theAmericanist says:

    Just to clarify another technical point, I looked at the poll itself. (You can find it at Besides — as any professional poll would — answering all of Haynes’ questions, the way the issues question is framed is: “What do you think is the most important issue for the Latino community?”

    That’s significant, cuz it asks respondents what they think FOR the larger community, rather than what is most important to THEM, personally.

    Zogby apparently also asked it to elicit just one response, and did not seem to offer a list from which people would choose, or rank priorities. So the responses were apparently spontaneous: “Education/schools” got 34%, “Economy/Jobs” got 22%, and “immigration” got 8%.

    That’s pretty steep. One thing it shows is that the polltakers were instructed to be pretty flexible about knocking answers into niches without prompting respondents, e.g., “education/schools” or “economy/jobs”. I’m guessing somebody might have said “What do I think is most important to the Latino community? We need to learn computers, man, cuz that’s where the jobs are, you know what I’m saying?”, and the polltaker would make a judgment call that this was “education” rather than “economy”.

    But that seems reasonable to me. It does strike me as sorta interesting (La Raza-sponsored polls have been known to lead respondents, as this one does with its immigration questions later) that the drop is SO steep: more than a third for education, less than a quarter for jobs, and all the way down below 10 percent for “immigration”, which almost never ranks even that high: it is little salience in most polls.

    But — on its own terms, and done quite professionally: Yeah, it is entirely valid to read the interest in education expressed by this poll’s respondents as a priority as a very significant endorsement: 34% saying so, unprompted, is a full 12 points higher than the second priority, 26 points higher than third, and WAY ahead of such vote-moving concerns as health care.