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Latino Teens More Likely Than Blacks, Whites to Attend High Schools, Says Report


Hispanic teens are more likely than Blacks and Whites to attend public high schools that have the most students, the highest concentrations of poor students and highest student-teacher ratios, according to a new Pew Hispanic Center analysis.

The findings came in one of three studies released this week by the Center that examined youths in high schools and colleges. The report found that more than half of Latinos (56 percent) attend the nation’s largest public high schools — those schools whose enrollment size ranks them in the 90th percentile or higher. That’s compared with 32 percent of Blacks and 26 percent of Whites.

The report also found that about 37 percent of Latinos attend the 10 percent of schools with the highest student-teacher ratios. Just 14 percent of Black students and 13 percent of Whites attend those schools, which have a student-teacher ratio greater than 22-to-1 compared with the national average of 16-to-1.

While much of the research on the achievement gap between Hispanics and Whites has focused on characteristics of students, the new study examines the structural characteristics of the high schools attended by different racial and ethnic groups.

“The characteristics of high schools matter for student performance,” said Richard Fry, senior research associate at the Center and the author of the three reports. “Hispanic teens are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to attend public high schools that have the dual characteristics of extreme size and poverty.”

In another report released by the Center, it was found that the number of young Hispanics going to college is increasing. But the study, which examined the latest available enrollment data from individual colleges, found that the number of Whites enrolling in four-year colleges is increasing even more rapidly — widening a large gap  
between Whites and Latinos in key states. “When it comes to college enrollment, Hispanics are chasing a target that is accelerating ahead of them,” Fry said.

More findings of the report “The High Schools Hispanics Attend: Size and Other Key Characteristics” can be found on

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