By Curt W. Olson, Texas Budget Source
He said 80 percent of Hispanics attend community colleges and higher education funding must be directed to the glaring needs there.
The Corpus Christi Republicans spoke Thursday at a forum on “Texas Hispanics and the Texas Future.” The forum was one of the panels hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation during its 10th annual Policy Orientation at the Austin Hilton.
The other speakers on the panel were U.S. Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, R- San Antonio, and George Rodriguez of San Antonio who is the first Hispanic leader of a local Tea Party organization. Foundation Vice President of Communications Joshua Trevino moderated the panel.
Torres said as Texas’ population grew more than 20 percent from 2000 to 2010, 65 percent of that growth was Hispanics now located in urban areas or the Rio Grande Valley.
He said this means Hispanics will become the future labor force. However, a large number of Hispanics drop out from high school and college.
Torres said part of the problem is there’s this mistaken notion that everyone should go to college. He said the future Hispanic labor force must be skilled in all areas, and college may not be essential to that.
State Rep. Marisa Marquez, D-El Paso, questioned Torres about the state’s role.
Torres said of the 80 percent of Hispanics attending community colleges, most of them also take remedial courses and 80 percent to 85 percent of them will drop out of college.
Torres said the community colleges don’t have all of the resources they need to address the rising needs.
“We have to change the program,” Torres said. “Right now, most of the attention is given to Tier 1 and Tier 2 (four-year) colleges.”
Torres emphasized that the failure of public policy to not focus on this area will hinder future economic development in Texas because of a workforce shortage.
Canseco said the federal government hasn’t helped Hispanic communities with the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, which has a goal of protecting consumers.
The congressman said the net impact of the law for community banks in densely-populated Hispanic communities will be the inability to provide credit to Hispanic business owners.
Additionally, those banks will face a large volume of new regulations that will increase the cost of doing business.
Rodriguez underscored the dysfunction in Hispanic communities, which is enabled by the federal welfare state. He said it’s not unusual to see grandmothers raising their grandchildren and teen-age girls having two or three children.
He said it must stop.
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