- Ensuring the Success of Latino Males in Higher Education: A National Imperative ed. by Victor B. Sáenz, Luis Ponjuán, Julie López Figueroa
Victor B. Sáenz, Luis Ponjuán, and Julie López Figueroa (Eds.)
Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2016, 248pages, $35.00 (softcover)
Much has been written about the gender gap in higher education; however, less attention has been given to the widening gender gap in education among historically underrepresented minorities. Ensuring the Success of Latino Males in Higher Education, edited by Victor B. Sáenz, Luis Ponjuán, and Julie López Figueroa, is a timely book that provides a historical perspective of the issues Latinos face in the educational pipeline and actionable steps to narrow the gap. This book highlights the experiences and research of a group of men who have been neglected in the education system and may struggle to be successful in higher education. Prior to this book, the only major publication that dealt with Latinos is Invisible No More: Understanding the Disenfranchisement of Latino Men and Boys (Noguera, Hurtado, & Fergus, 2012) that focused on the lifespan of Latinos rather than specifically on higher education. The editors of this book state that it is distinctive because it provides perspectives on emerging theories and research and serves as a primer for policy makers. The book is organized around four overarching themes: context, theories, research, and moving from research to practice.
The reviewers acknowledge that the Spanish language is gendered; therefore, when we say Latino when we mean men of Latino descent – and when we mean the culture we will use the term Latinx. The book does not make such distinction and at times the reader may be confused about how the term is being used. This review will offer a brief summary of the chapters and conclude with overall thoughts on the book.
The first chapter, written by the editors, is focused on demographic trends that influence the experience of Latinos. The authors show that overwhelmingly Latino men enter elementary education already behind and the achievement gap widens as they move through the education system. More research that focuses on Latinos is needed to better understand these trends. Victor Sáenz, Luis Ponjuán, and Julie López Figueroa make a convincing argument that Latinos are disappearing from the education pipeline at key transition points, making them largely absent from higher education. This is followed by chapter 2, which is focused on the pipeline of Latinos into higher education by using the High School and Beyond data set. In this chapter, Ponjuán focuses on high school and community contributions to college going decisions.
The theories section of the book begins with López Figueroa introducing a promising framework for looking at the experiences of Latinos in chapter 3. The geography of academic support is “a hybrid framework that considers how and why students physically situate themselves in particular places within our respective campuses” (p. 44). Chapter 4, by López Figueroa, Patricia Pérez, and Irene I. Vega, considers gender expectations among Latinos in college. In the final chapter in this section, chapter 5, Nolan L. Cabrera, Fatemma D. Rashwan-Soto, and Bryant G. Valencia use intersectionality to complicate what it means to be male and Latino by referencing the [End Page 135] privilege paradox in which Latinos have some privilege due to their gender identity yet are marginalized by their ethnic/racial identity, immigrant status, and gendered expectations.
The third section is focused on research and begins with a chapter on high school math achievement and its influence on college access. In chapter 6, Ismael Fajardo, José M. Hernandez, and José Muñoz examine the influential role of psychosociocultural factors on Latino male high school math achievement. Chapter 7 by Lizette Ojeda and Linda G. Castillo, focuses on the role of familismo on academic persistence and primarily uses the literature in counseling, which provides a different take on this often studied characteristic and highlights the need for parental involvement. In chapter 8 David Pérez II shifts the conversation from access...