Pencils are sharpened.
Notebooks are packed neatly into school bags.
Teachers are adorning walls with welcoming posters.
In the grade schools, the smells of newly waxed floors and disinfectant in the hall has yet to be fully conquered by the wafting pungent urine-hammer floating out of the 1st grade boys bathroom.
In inner-city high schools, shanks are being diligently sharpened, gang tattoos touched up, and 20-year-old textbooks are sitting ready to teach children about George H. W. Bush, Sr, their current U.S. president.
It's a new school year filled with a vast ocean of possibilities.
For Latinos, it's a particularly interesting time in education. From 2009 - 2010 Latino college enrollment surged a record-breaking 24 percent. Despite this growth, "only 13 percent of Hispanic 25- to 29-year-olds had completed at least a bachelor's degree." Of course, as the nation's official Latino spokesperson, who would El Guapo be if he didn't shine his lighthouse's warm light on the clueless as they embark on this newest leg of their journey?
So, here are El Guapo's 3 tips for having a successful school year:
First, stop being poor.
The Pew Hispanic Center found that in 2010 that "More Latino children are living in poverty -- 6.1 million in 2010 -- than children of any other racial or ethnic group." That is approximately 1 in 3 Latino children living below the poverty line ($23,000 or less a year for a family of 4.)
Shockingly, studies find that children who live in poverty are far more likely to fare poorly in school. They are more likely to have cognitive and behavioral problems and to stare at a wall blankly and fantasize about dancing Big Macs while their teacher reviews a PowerPoint on the Industrial Revolution.
So, like I said, if you're poor, stop it.
Second, make no mistake about it -- a person who went to college is a better, smarter, altogether superior human being than one who didn't. Fact.
Need proof? Here are some people who've gone to college:
Donald Trump -- and if it wasn't for his Tang addiction, he'd be able to show you his absolute brilliance time and time again, like this gem: "In life you have to rely on the past, and that's called history."
Snooki -- Trump's fellow tanorexic Jersey Shore's Snooki also went to college. She studied Veterinarian Tech. Now she's a best-selling author and has this to say about animals: "That's why I don't eat friggin' lobster or anything like that. Because they're alive when you kill it." That's called college-level logic, people. Drink it in.
Mr. Bean -- Rowan Atkinson, better known as Mr. Bean, has a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering. So as he puts forks into electrical sockets, he is keenly aware of the set of circuits that allow him to be charred to a crisp.
George W. Bush -- has an MBA from Harvard
Hopefully this is adequate warning as to what it takes to be a successful college student. If you do earn a college degree, please proceed to immediately looking down your nose at those who do not. How else will they know that they are worthless?
Third, critical thinking, creativity are overrated.
For instance, if you're so busy reading and trying to think critically, and/or questioning things you will not accept the knowledge that's right in your textbooks. For instance, if you were a critical thinker in Louisiana, you might get stuck on the fact that the KKK was simply a group of concerned citizens aiming at "fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross." Then you'd fail the test and end up poor and lonely.
Additionally, the high-stakes tests at the center of U.S. education are multiple-choice, ensuring that when you get out into the workforce you will be able to select the best of four answers put before you. If I'm not mistaken, this is how Apple, Amazon, and Google began their respective meteoric rises as some of the world's most innovative companies -- by making sure they filled in the correct oval completely, with a #2 pencil and without leaving any stray marks.
Your handsome and humble servant-