Maureen informs us of these national points:
- U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the improved academic performance of Latino children a “national priority.”
- Today, 22 percent of students under the age of 18 are Latino.
- 12 million children in pre-k to high school are Latino
- less than half of Latino children attend early learning programs and less than half earn their high school degrees
- Only one in eight has a bachelor’s degree.
- Only 4 percent of Latinos have an academic degree beyond an undergraduate level.
- In Georgia, the Hispanic population grew 96 percent, according to the new Census data released this week.
- In Gwinnett County, the number of Hispanics grew more than 152 percent
- Cobb County rose 80 percent increase
- Fulton 51 percent
- DeKalb 29 percent.
- Hispanics showed a 100 percent increase in Clayton.
“Both President Obama and I believe reducing the Latino dropout rate and boosting student achievement are absolutely essentially to the future of our economy and the future of our country,” Duncan said.
“Whether parents are educated or not, whether they speak the language or not, it is important that the school partner with those parents,” said Duncan. “We have to hold parents accountable. But at the same time, we have to open our doors and give parents a chance to participate in the culture of the school, regardless of what education level they are at. Every parent wants their child to be successful. We want to double funding for parental engagement programs, not that are feel-good, but programs that lead to higher student achievement.”
“We have to educate our way to a better economy,” Duncan said. “We cannot begin to use tough economic times as an excuse not to invest in education and not to drive improvement.”
In DeKalb, our school board argues black and white debates all of the time. However, truth be told, our school system is about 75% African-American, 11% Hispanic and barely 10% white. We need to refocus our paradigm and commit to conversations about educating all students. Cross Keys is our one high school with an obviously gerry-mandered attendance zone which scoops in almost all of our Hispanic high school students. Cross Keys, ironically, is also the only high school in DeKalb with an on-site vocational program, but no auditorium nor any plans for building one. We can do better.