Gabriel Miramar-Garcia | 10-09-2013
The Graduates/Los Graduados, a new two-part special from filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz (Reportero), explores the many roots of the Latino dropout crisis through the eyes of six young students from across the United States.
The student profiles in The Graduates offer a first-hand perspective on the challenges facing many Latino high school students, including overcrowded schools, crime-ridden neighbourhoods, teen pregnancy and pressure to contribute to the family finances.
The Graduates/Los Graduados premieres on Independent Lens on 28 October and 4 November on PBS. The programme will also be presented in Spanish on the Spanish-language channel V-me, and online at PBS.org.
"The future of this country will be determined by what happens in its schools. It's not just our democracy, it's our economy that's at stake," said Pedro Noguera, an urban sociologist who contributed to the Graduates. "Latinos are the fastest growing segment of the US population, so in many ways we are going to see a Latino future. We can't allow differences related to language, culture and race become an obstacle to doing what's in our national interest."
Each episode of The Graduates profiles three students who were in danger of dropping out of high school. The first hour of the series tells the stories of three young women who, through a combination of educational and community resources, as well as supportive families, are able to surmount the obstacles that might have prevented them from completing their education. In the second hour, we meet three young men who have struggled with challenges such as immigration status, brushes with the law and bullying. With a combination of community and family support, each student is able to find a program that helps him to remain in school, further his education, and get involved in his community.