Thursday, May 23, 2024

Obama to discuss Latino Education at Town Hall Meeting

President Barack Obama visited a multicultural high school in Washington, D.C. today to discuss Latino education at a town hall-style meeting to be broadcast by Univision, the largest U.S. Spanish language television network, later in the evening.

The town hall, was held at Bell Multicultural High School, and attended by some 600 students, teachers, and parents that will have the opportunity to ask Obama questions.

Juan Sepulveda of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics says that while Hispanic students face unique challenges, such as learning English for newly arrived immigrants, the larger portion of them, “suffer from the same problems of their poorer white or black counterparts—they are in failing schools.”

Hispanics make up the largest portion of minority students in K-12 schools, about 22 percent, but have one of the lowest high school graduation rates and an even lower percentage go on to college to earn a diploma.

The meeting comes just days after the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that Hispanics accounted for more than half of the population growth in the last decade.

“We have a small percentage of the population that has a college degree,” said Sepulveda. “Even if you throw in community college degrees, we only get up to 19%.”

President Obama has made Hispanic issues a part of his broader domestic policy agenda and partnered up for a three year project with Univision that “focuses on making sure Hispanic students have a way to go to college and making sure parents are involved in their education.”

“For the biggest chunk of the 12 million Latino kids in the public [school] system, this is about an opportunity gap,” Sepulveda said.

President Obama has tasked Education Secretary Arne Duncan with leading the overhaul of the nation’s K-12 education system.  The plan includes defending the White House’s requested budget increase for education and more investment in early childhood education with a focus on disadvantaged communities, and “unprecedented increases in Pell Grants.”


National Journal