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NEWS BRIEFS : Compton Schools Join Dropout Fight

November 16, 1989

Targeting children as young as 5, the Compton Unified School District has joined with the private, nonprofit group California Tomorrow and three area colleges in a five-year experiment aimed at lowering high school dropout rates.

Key to the project, which also involves Cal State Dominguez Hills, UC Irvine and Compton Community College, is a sustained effort to boost parents' involvement in their youngsters' education through workshops, a drop-in center and, eventually, a "parent leadership institute."

The program is being launched for pupils in kindergarten through fifth grade at McNair Elementary School who have been identified as likely to drop out by the time they reach high school. Officials hope the project will be expanded within five years to all district elementary schools.

The Compton district's approximately 29,000 students are almost evenly divided among blacks and Latinos (49% and 48%, respectively). Officials said the proportion of Latinos in the district is expected to grow dramatically.

El Diario Newspaper Closes After 2 1/2 Years

El Diario de Los Angeles has ceased publication after struggling for 2 1/2 years to win readers and advertisers.

Attorney Jose Mariano Castillo, who represents the paper's Mexican owners, said that efforts to find new investors will continue, but that he holds little hope for raising the necessary money.

El Diario published its last edition Oct. 7 and laid off 24 employees, including the paper's editorial staff, Castillo said.

El Diario's owners invested about $3 million to start operations as the region's third Spanish-language daily. But El Diario circulation peaked at 30,000 and it never managed to attract significant amounts of advertising.

El Diario filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and was losing about $60,000 a month, according to executives.

Edison Drafts Plan on Jobs for Minorities

Southern California Edison Co. has set forth a far-reaching plan to improve its record of minority hiring, promotion and subcontracting with a program that community groups said is the most comprehensive in the country.

If Edison meets its commitments, contained in an "equal opportunity pledge" signed with a broad coalition of community groups, "it would be the most integrated corporation in the United States by far," said Robert L. Gnaizda, a lawyer with the public interest group Public Advocates Inc. and a prime mover in the coalition.

The plan, effective Jan. 1, sets several goals to be met with good-faith efforts. It would:

* Raise the percentage of minorities and women in Edison's top 500 management jobs to 20% in five years from the current 13%.

* Increase the percentage of minorities and women in the firm's top 100 management positions to 10% in five years and 20% in 10 years from 6% now.

* Raise the number of minority and women directors on its 16-member board from four to six.

* Award 30% of Edison's estimated $1 billion in business contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses by 1998.

Bradley Joins Drive for Latinos in Census

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley joined with Latino leaders and celebrities to kick off a city campaign designed to encourage Latino youths to be counted in the 1990 Census.

"Tell your friends, tell your family that Hispanics must be counted to earn political power," came a message shouted not from the mouth of a politician, but by Latin American music star Jose Luis Rodriguez, who attended the event at Roosevelt High School.

The City of Los Angeles, bolstered with $600,000 in funding, has joined forces with community and civic groups to find ways to reach traditionally undercounted groups, including Latinos, the homeless and those who live in overcrowded apartments.

Officials said that they have targeted Latino youths of high school age because they can pass along census information to their parents and encourage them to fill out forms for the April 1 count.

Meanwhile, in a new estimate, the Census Bureau said that the nation's Latino population has grown by 39% since 1980, rising to 20.1 million. Latinos now constitute 8.2% of the U.S. population, and have a rate of growth that is five times that of non-Latinos, the bureau said. An estimated 6.7 million Latinos live in California.

In Brief

Luis Nogales, former president of United Press International and Univision, has been elected the first Latino member of the Adolph Coors Co. board of directors . . . Frank Cruz, former general manager of KVEA (Channel 52), is being considered for a seat on the Federal Communications Commission.

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