September 14, 2021

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Skillful education crafters

Biden orders new initiative to investigate Latino education

2 min read

President Biden is creating a new initiative on Hispanic education as the percentage of Latino students in U.S. public schools continues to grow.

The big picture: Latinos make up around 27% of all public school students and about 20% of college students. They are expected to be the majority of U.S. residents by midcentury but now lag behind in graduation rates and student achievement.

Driving the news: Biden signed an executive order Monday creating a White House initiative, “Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics,” which will be housed within the U.S. Department of Education.

  • This will focus on breaking down barriers and systemic challenges facing Hispanic students from early childhood through college, the White House told Axios.
  • Obama administration official and former journalist Melody Gonzales, of San Diego, will lead the effort and collect data on the state of Latino education as schools re-open from the pandemic.

Of note: The order also creates the new Presidential Advisory Commission on Advancing Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics, which will be made up of business, education, and community leaders.

  • The commission will offer recommendations to the president and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

By the numbers: Latinos have a national adjusted cohort high school graduation rate of 82% during the 2018–19 school year, the last available numbers, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

  • That rate was below the overall national average by four percentage points and seven percentage points behind whites.
  • About two-in-ten Hispanic children (21%) were living in poverty in 2019, the Pew Research Center reported last year. That’s higher than the national average of 14% of all children.

Don’t forget: New Mexico, the state with the largest percentage of Hispanic residents in the country, is locked in a legal battle called the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit.

  • The lawsuit alleges that New Mexico has failed to provide a sufficient and uniform system of education to all New Mexican children as guaranteed by the state constitution.
  • New Mexico has regularly ranked as 49th or 50th annually in education.