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Book Lets Latino Dropouts in Rural Areas Tell Their Stories


A new book, Latino Dropouts in Rural America: Realities and Possibilities, allows former high school students from rural communities in Idaho to tell their own stories about why they left school.

It is co-authored by Mary E. Gardiner of the University of Idaho at Boise; Carolyn Hondo, assistant principal and Yolanda Sapien, English as a Second Language teacher, both of Burley High School in Burley and was published in March by State University of New York (SUNY) Press.

Gardiner is professor of educational leadership at the university and is the author of Parent-School Collaboration: Feminist Organizational Structures and School Leadership and the coauthor (with Ernestine Enomoto and Margaret Grogan) of Coloring outside the Lines: Mentoring Women into School Leadership, both also published by SUNY Press.

Hondo was one of Gardiner’s students in her multicultural diversity and educational leadership class. She completed a paper on high-school dropout rates, followed by her doctoral dissertation on the subject.

The book looks at the experiences of nine students and explores why students leave school.

“Nationally, each year almost one-third of all high school students — and nearly one-half of all African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans — fail to graduate from public high school with their class,” Gardiner said.

She said that it appeared to be accepted fact that Latino students dropped out, and the blame was often put on parents who were seen as taking the students out of school to work. More complex reasons emerged in the authors’ research. They include recommendations to improve students’ experience in school.

In the advance comments offered by the publisher, Gisela Ernst-Slavit of Washington State University, said, “This book gives voice, in a most respectful and skilled manner, to nine Latino students who dropped out of school. Their dreams were shattered as they encountered educators and school systems that were unprepared at best or unwilling at worst to address their needs. This book is invaluable for teachers and administrators who work with Latino students.”

The book is available through the website,

Latino Dropouts in Rural America: Realities and Possibilities, $65.50 Hardcover, ISBN10: N/AISBN13: 978-0-7914-7387-0, $21.95 Paperback, ISBN10: N/AISBN13: 978-0-7914-7388-7

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