Editor’s note: This guest column comes from Julio Fuentes, the president of the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (HCREO), a national coalition dedicated to education reform that counts civil rights and Hispanic business leaders along with public school teachers and ministers among its supporters.
The history of our education system is marked by pivotal opportunities when leaders and policy influencers joined forces to bring about improvements and policy changes for the betterment of students. From public school desegregation to teacher quality measurements and standardized testing, the landscape of education has evolved and matured to best serve students and their families.
Last week, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged parents, educators and school leaders at the local, state and national levels of government to seize the next of these pivotal opportunities – specifically, he said, we must make Hispanic educational excellence a national priority.
Secretary Duncan noted that the Obama Administration’s goal of having the world’s highest share of college graduates by 2020 will not happen “without challenging every level of government to make the educational success of Latinos a top priority. America’s future depends on it.”
Secretary Duncan’s call to action came in response to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the U.S. Department of Education’s statistical center, which outlines in grave detail the Hispanic achievement gap that has long been of such concern to my organization and others. Hispanic students are the largest minority group in our nation’s schools, but they continue to fall behind.