Education

April, 09, 2003 - 06:08 PM / ET

PRESIDENT'S ADVISORY COMMISSION ON EDUCATION EXCELLENCE FOR HISPANIC AMERICANS RELEASES FINAL REPORT; REPORT FOCUSES ON CLOSING THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP FOR HISPANIC AMERICANS

WASHINGTON,--(HISPANIC PR WIRE - U.S. Newswire)--April 9, 2003--The President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans released its final report during an event today at Hialeah Senior High School near Miami, Fla.

Members of the commission were joined at the event by fellow commissioner and Latin recording artist Jon Secada, who is also a graduate of the high school.

The report, "From Risk to Opportunity: Fulfilling the Educational Needs of Hispanic Americans in the 21st Century," is the result of an extensive, 18-month review and represents the most comprehensive plan to date aimed at closing the educational achievement gap for Hispanic Americans -- now the nation's largest minority group.

"Every child in America is a gift, and the task of educating each and every child is a noble endeavor," said Commission co-chair Frank Hanna. "This is also a matter of great urgency, which requires immediate attention and an accountability for results."

President Bush formed the commission in October 2001 to develop an action plan to close the educational achievement gap for Hispanic Americans. The commission heard from more than 1,600 parents, teachers and experts and found a deepening crisis that affects all Americans.

Co-chair Enedelia Schofield remarked, "As a principal, I see the daily struggles that Hispanic parents endure to make college a reality for their children. This report signifies our Nation's strong commitment to making an impact in improving Hispanic education."

One of every three Hispanic American students fails to complete high school and only 10 percent of Hispanic Americans graduate from four-year colleges and universities. This not only threatens to leave behind yet another generation of Hispanic children, but also could limit mobility in the labor force, potentially jeopardizing our country's ability to compete economically.

Building on the president's No Child Left Behind initiative, the report sets forth recommendations for parents, educators, and leaders from business, local communities, faith-based institutions and government. In addition, the commission recommends six strategies to address the present dilemma:

-- Set new and high expectations for Hispanic American children.

-- Support No Child Left Behind.

-- Reinforce and expand a high-quality teaching profession.

-- Launch a research agenda to support Hispanic American children.

-- Create pathways to college graduation.

-- Create increased federal accountability and coordination.

"Closing the educational achievement gap of Hispanic American children is everyone's business," said U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige. "The president and I believe every child can learn and with the reforms of No Child Left Behind, every child will learn. We're not letting any more Hispanic children slip through the cracks. It's a disgrace and it is going to stop. And the report the commission has given the president provides thoughtful ideas about how we can further expand our efforts in this area."

Hialeah Senior High School, located in the northwestern part of Dade County, is one of 35 high schools in the nation's fourth largest school system. The school serves 3,000 students, and Hispanics represent over 90 percent of the Hialeah community. The high school will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2004.

For more information about the commission, please visit http://www.YesICan.gov or http://www.YoSiPuedo.gov.

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CONTACT:
White House Initiative on Educational
Excellence for Hispanic Americans
Syddia Lee-Chee, 202-549-4671
David Almacy, 202-401-6178








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