November 21, 2007

Radio Bilingüe ‘Diploma en Mano’ series tackles education gap

As poor graduation rates and low college enrollment plague the nation’s growing Latino community, Radio Bilingüe will launch its new “Diploma en Mano” Radio Series beginning Nov. 26 on the daily talk show, Línea Abierta.

A special prologue program featuring veteran folksinger and songwriter Suni Paz will air live Nov. 19 on Línea Abierta from noon to 1 p.m. PST. Paz will celebrate the series by premiering her “Corrido de la Educación,” a tune from the Chicano movement adapted to the current activism for better education.

The new Radio Bilingüe series, funded with a grant from Lumina Foundation for Education, is in collaboration with California Tomorrow, a non profit research and advocacy organization that promotes equity and open access for all cultures and races, and Dr. Graciela Orozco, an educator at San Francisco State University who is a former high school counselor and expert in the field of educational radio.

Over the next year, Línea Abierta will air the monthly series featuring 12 talk shows and 12 educational messages on its community-based radio network’s satellite system that reaches 100 affiliates throughout the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico as well as its own six stations in California.

The “Diploma en Mano” Radio Series, featuring a collateral web page and interpersonal assistance by educational counselors both on and off the air, is designed to help combat a growing dilemma facing the Latino community and the public education system in general.

“Despite the fact that the Latino population is growing faster than any other U.S. population, the educational and professional development of young Latinos is being impaired by poor graduation rates and low college enrollment,” said Hugo Morales, executive director of Radio Bilingue. “Obviously, the public school system is not meeting the needs of this population.”

Martha D. Lamkin, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, said that Radio Bilingue’s “Diploma en Mano” series fits the Indiana-based organization’s mission well.

“We believe that postsecondary education remains one of the most beneficial investments that individuals can make in themselves and that society can make in its people,” Lamkin said.

Lumina Foundation for Education is a private, independent foundation that strives to help people, particularly underserved student groups, achieve their potential by expanding access and success in education beyond high school.

Lamkin said Radio Bilingüe has proven it is an effective vehicle to reach the nation’s Latino community.

“This new series will offer services and information that will help its listeners engage in proactive, progressive action to improve their daily lives,” Lamkin said.

The shows and messages on the “Diploma en Mano” Radio Series will provide parents and other adults with practical tips and informational tools to help Latino children break barriers in post-secondary schools that hinder access to college and success in pursuing a higher education, Morales said.

Laurie Olsen, executive director of California Tomorrow, said the series will build on the cultural and linguistic assets of Latino families, and the special value they place on school education, as well as key into the high aspirations that Latino parents have for their children.

“The radio series will provide Latino parents/listeners with access to a forum where they can exchange and reinforce their views in their own language,” she said.

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