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Education News

Improving Federal Education Assistance for Hispanics

The White House is traveling the country getting input on how to improve educational opportunities for Hispanics. Houston was the last stop in Texas for a dialogue called “Community Conversations” with community leaders, elected officials and educators. It is an effort by the Obama administration to gain public input on the status of Hispanic education. Pat Hernandez has more.


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The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans was created by Executive Order in 1990, to promote quality education for Hispanics Americans. Juan Sepulveda is the Initiative director. He says education tops the agenda for President Obama.

“It’s really important for us because as we try to figure out what should the White House initiative be doing for President Obama’s administration, that the smartest thing we could do, was to not lock ourselves in an office in D.C. and say WE’RE SMART ENOUGH TO KIND OF FIGURE OUT OURSELF, but to literally get out across the country and let folks, to listen to them, to get them introduced to the initiative, and most importantly, to make that they partner up with us, to help us as we kind of try to take on these tough issues.”

The Community Conversation took place at the downtown campus of Houston Community College, where Sepulveda heard from educators.

“We need more in the underserved pockets of neighborhoods that need to address zero to five years, and then, I want to also see that the fine arts is dedicated into those programs because, without rhythm and sound and also color, children do not learn.”

Educator: “Parental participation and starting the conversation of college with students.”

Educator: “We need to stop stereotyping and stop telling our children that you can’t, and change that to where you can. There should be no NO’s in the school, everything should be YES. We need to change that all the way around.”

Yolanda Navarro Flores is a trustee at Houston Community College.

“60 percent of all Hispanic students who seek higher education, actually start in community colleges. So, that’s a large number, and the good thing about is that we’re able to serve their needs and assist them to the point of graduation. We still have to work on the graduation rate but we’re trying.”

State senator Mario Gallegos went to HCC before he graduated at University of Houston. He says parents have a big role to play in their kid’s future.

“Ultimately, somebody in that family sees education in their kids, and that’s the main focus should be, even if it’s the mother or father, which one, or a grandmother or an aunt, they should take responsibility, and take that first step forward along with the child.”

White House Initiative Director Juan Sepulveda says data will be compiled from 16 states to update the executive order for educational excellence.

“We need folks from across the country to join with us to take it on. So, you’re gonna see a series of action task forces that are really gonna get unleashed to really kind of take on these tough issues.”

Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.

Above Picture: Juan Sepulveda, Director of White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans

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