In Fox News Latino: Rick Santorum: Faith and Razón

Dumb and Dumber.

Nah…I’m not singlin’ ‘out a part. candidate.  + during primary silly season, combined with our 24/7 media culture, you take what presidential nominee hopefuls say as seriously as a Kim Kardashian wedding.

Thing is, Latino educational underachievement is nothing to ha-ha-ha about.  Rick Santorum’s comments poo-pooing colleges for being “indoctrination mills” sends a dangerous message: that higher education is optional or for snobs.  I get that not everyone is cut out for university and that many without fancy degrees are crazy successful.

Now back up.


Say from 30,000 feet where you see the bigger picture: Latinos’ huge education deficit negatively impacts families and communities as a host of statistics demonstrates, including, an income gap the size of the Grand Canyon separating Hispanics from other groups nationwide.

And it’s not just a Latino issue: this is an American emergencia if you break down the 2010 Census date to mean that the dramático growth of the Latino population means we’ll make up a large part of the workforce and tax base.

…as in who’s going to support all the viejito Baby Boomers when they’re of SAS shoe v. Birkenstocks age.

“¡Ay Viviana!  Latinos aren’t listening to El Santoro,” you  say.

“It’s a free country.  He can say whatevs he wants.”

True Dat.

It’s also true and irresponsible for powerful people to mouth off about a topic like education being optional, during this brutal recession-recovery when more education could have meant the difference for many families between choosing food or medication or between college for their kids and one day retiring after years of bustin’ hump.

And then tie it religion!

This post gets personal, like very.

I frame Santorum’s “snobby” remarks against my own Impossible Dream–sweating blood to earn a Yale PHD.

And may we one day speak about the Great Latino Education Over Achievement as fact, not quixotic fancy.

As it appears in in Fox News Latino where I am a regular politics columnist.

Rick Santorum: Faith and Razón

By: Viviana Hurtado

When GOP Presidential nominee hopeful Rick Santorum called President Barack Obama a “snob” for saying he wants every American to go to college, I felt the former Senator from Pennsylvania had not only committed social and economic treason, but also sacrilege.

Watch Santorum’s “snob” remarks.

I belong to probably one of the most minority of minorities.  I earned a Ph.D. from Yale University.  The National Science Foundation reports that of the 48,069 doctorates awarded in 2010, Latinos earned 1,850.  While most of us prize being labeled exceptional, not me.  I want nothing more than to have department admissions overrun with applications from Hispanics.  I pray for the day these qualified candidates are accepted and, most important, finish their degrees in record numbers.


Courtesy: Getty

That’s not happening and not just at the doctoral level.  The number of Latinos with a bachelors degree or higher increased by 80% between 2001 and 2011 from 2.1 to 3.8 million as reported by Fox News Latino.

Yet a closer look reveals that the number of Hispanics reporting in 2010 at minimum some college lags significantly in comparison to other groups.  Among college graduates, about Latinos 3,589,000 finished, in comparison to 43,924,000 Whites, 4,967,000 Asian-Americans, and 4,134,000 African-Americans, according to the Pew Hispanic Research Center’s tabulation of the Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey.

You don’t need a Ph.D. to “get” that this continuing educational underachievement hurts our families and communities.  Every degree someone earns represents a rung up the ladder of success and prepares her for the industries of the future which require more skills.  Simply put, the more education you have, the higher the chances you’ll earn more, be less likely to be unemployed, thus building wealth and creating economic and social opportunities.  What’s rarer, on average, than a Latina Ph.D.?  An über successful college dropout such as Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, and Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft.

But the Great Latino Education Underachievement is not just alarming to our community.  It represents an American crisis given that Hispanic’s continuing population growth at a time when that of other groups is slowing impacts our country’s global competitiveness.  Latinos are not only the labor force of the future.  Our social safety net, for example, Medicare and Social Security for our seniors, will largely be sustained by this growing tax base.

Which leads me back to Santorum who upon closer examination appears to be crossing into Flipflop-ville, to not say hypocrite territory.  This son of an Italian immigrant and grandson of a coal miner calls colleges “indoctrination mills” but himself –like me– survived, along with our Catholic faith, three universities, earning a BA, an MBA, and JD!  And in 2006 when running for Senate, he supported access to higher education for all Pennsylvanians, according to the website Talking Points Memo.

The tension between faith and reason has existed since the beginning of time.  But that they can and do co-exist–that this relationship deepens belief–should not only have been resolved with St. Thomas Aquinas.  It is affirmed because of the rigorous debate, artistic expression, and intellectual challenge on religious and secular college campuses, perhaps more than at monasteries.

Real world tests deepen faith.  Earning degrees and belief aren’t mutually exclusive.  What is exclusive–as in articulating a political position that could exclude a whole group of people from achieving the American dream–shows little “reason”; it just makes no economic or social sense.  It displays little faith in the transformational power of that aspiration.  It’s a view that’s clubby.  Make that snobby.

Viviana Hurtado’s blog The Wise Latina Club has won “Best Politics Blogger” awards by LATISM and Blogs by Latinas. She is a regular columnist for Fox News Latino. You can follow her on twitter at: @vivianahurtado

Click here to read my other Fox News Latino politics columns.

A direct relationship exists between more education and more $/success.  But what about those who are not cut out for college? 


  1. says

    Excellent article! These politicians are always talking out of both sides of their mouth. And we need to be steadily encouraging our children to pursue higher education.

    • says

      Almost wish I hadn’t watched the video! A snob? Really? And what the heck are these people applauding? The last thing this country needs is anyone putting the idea into anyone’s mind that aspiring for a college education is snobby. Or that aspiring to be like Obama is an awful thing. An education is always valuable. He should know, since as you said, he did pursue so many degrees. He must be a snob.

  2. says

    A child with an education has a greater chance of being successful and earning more money vs a child without an education. As a parent its our responsibility to ensure our children get that education. It’s also our responsibility to equip our children with self-confidence to formulate their own solutions without being indoctrinated into a political party, a cult, or a belief system.

Leave a Reply