Dominicans in New York are the focus of a feature in the New York Times Education section today. The story highlights what it describes as the “striking and yet unheralded success of Dominican immigrant students in higher education, and specifically in the City University of New York system, that legendary ladder of upward mobility for earlier waves of newcomers.” Reporter Samuel G. Freedman in “Dominicans Take Their Place as an American Success Story” highlights that the percentage of Dominicans age 25 or older with some college education has more than doubled from 1980 to 2000 to 35% of American-born Dominicans and 17% of Dominican immigrants, as per findings of a Dominican Studies Institute at CUNY. Making the accomplishments more notable, the reporter points out that many of the students come from the poorest households and had the least-educated parents.
The author makes the point that despite limited education by parents many Dominicans are making higher education a priority whereas others “adopts the most self-destructive attitudes of poor, urban America.”
The author describes Dominicans as the modern-day equivalent of the Italians. “In this case, the peasantry has come from the Cibao valley or the Santo Domingo barrios instead of the Mezzogiorno, but the upward mobility through public education and small business follows the same trajectory.”