White House: Education of Latinos essential to America’s future

Today, Latino students account for 22 percent of the pre-k through high school enrollment in the United States.  Metro Atlanta / State News 6:46 p.m. Thursday, March 17, 2011 Blacks, Hispanics lead metro population growth  « Return to story The Hispanic population grew 96 percent in Georgia between 2000 and 2010, with more than a 152 percent increase in Gwinnett County; about 100 percent in Clayton County; and about 80 percent in Cobb, the Census numbers show.  Miguel Martinez/Mundo Hispanico

Today, Hispanics represent 22 percent of the nation's students in pre-k through high school. (Miguel Martinez/Mundo Hispanico)

In a media call today, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the improved academic performance of Latino children a “national priority.”

The media call previewed President Obama’s town hall meeting Monday morning at Bell Multicultural High School. The president will discuss Hispanics and education with 600 students, parents and teachers at the Washington, D.C. high school.

Today, 22 percent of students under the age of 18 are Latino. Citing the growth of Hispanic enrollment — 12 million children in pre-k to high school are Latino — Duncan said that 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, while Cobb County rose  80 percent increase, Fulton 51 percent and 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.”

Asked about whether the economy allows investments in any new education efforts, Duncan said children have only one chance to get an education. “We can’t wait for the economy to improve,” he said.

Duncan cited the administration’s commitment to increasing access to early childhood education in disadvantaged communities and increasing community college options. Half of Hispanics who attend college start at a community college.

“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.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

129 comments Add your comment

David Sims

March 25th, 2011
3:55 pm

Wrong. Getting Latinos out of America is essential to America’s future. We have neither the obligation nor the interest in spending our money to educate them.

Ginger

March 25th, 2011
4:10 pm

When they return and apply for citizenship, then we can discuss the matter.

Liz

March 25th, 2011
4:13 pm

I’m inclined to agree with David.

Liz

March 25th, 2011
4:13 pm

And also agree with Ginger.

it's about time

March 25th, 2011
4:32 pm

I am in agreement with all on this blog. Why are we spending American dollars on illegal immigrants. We are all criminals for aiding and abetting illegal immigrants. Why should America’s teachers and students suffer for illegal immigrants. The federal government spends millions of dollars on ESL/ESOL classes, but the salaries of educators are being slashed drastically. Does this make sense? The political party that has the courage to face this illegal immigration issue head on has my vote for 2012. Not racist, just believe in doing the right thing for America.

Sam

March 25th, 2011
4:45 pm

I don’t like illegal immigrants anymore than the rest of you but if they are here they need to be educated. We have to insist that they assimilate into our culture and leave their drug infested, wife abusing, socialistic culture at the boarder. If we don’t educate them then they’ll turn to the drug trade now prevalent (because of the latino influx) in all those counties listed above or other crimes.

Ashley

March 25th, 2011
5:01 pm

I’ve been hearing this same song and dance about education, first it was african-americans and now its hispanic. Maybe if kids would stop have kids (teen pregnancy is real prevalent in their community also) they could learn something. We can ill-afford to cuddle anymore kids who don’t want to learn or wait for them to play catch up. We cut funds to education, yet the powers that be want something for nothing. You keep talking about the community involvement, never once do I hear the hispanic parent get involve. If parents were involve in the discipline and nuturing of their off-spring half the educational problems would be solve. The gov’t hasn’t made education better they have made it more caustic. They can log on to any sight on a computer, they can sing the lyric to the latest rap artist, or worship their favorite soccer player but, they don’t now how to read and write. Priorities,priorities.

Me

March 25th, 2011
5:08 pm

Blah blah blah, The poor children, blah blah, Give outrageous stats, blah ,Name more outrageous price, blah blah blah, keywords: EDUCATION and FUTURE repeated as needed, blah blah, Finish up with applause, big smiles and/or handshakes for the cameras. Summary: a good days work for (enter politician/official of your choice) and lots of good PR for said politician/official.

That didn't take long

March 25th, 2011
5:19 pm

When I saw the headline I knew it would get ugly fast. I live in the Chamblee and my kids go to school in Chamblee and Doraville. They go to school with many Hispanic children. Most of them ARE U.S. citizens.

Fericita

March 25th, 2011
5:21 pm

First of all, to my fellow posters, Hispanic/Latino does not equal “illegal immigrant.”

Second of all, I’ll be impressed if Arne Duncan wants to start programs that really will help Hispanic kids, like bilingual education. That’s something that would benefit all of our kids, but our “English-Only/Afraid Of Immigrants” mindset prevents it from happening.

whatever

March 25th, 2011
5:26 pm

“I live in the Chamblee and my kids go to school in Chamblee and Doraville. They go to school with many Hispanic children. Most of them ARE U.S. citizens.”

How do you know?

Note

March 25th, 2011
5:33 pm

I do not have any problem paying taxes for the education of any American citizen regardless of their race. I do have an issue with the fact that schools do not require green cards or social security numbers to register.

TBT

March 25th, 2011
5:34 pm

“but our “English-Only/Afraid Of Immigrants” mindset prevents it from happening.”

The White House is very aware of the fact more and more Americans demand something be done to stop ILLEGAL immigration, this statement is just to continue to test the waters.

The labels you continue to put on American Citizens in regards to ILLEGAL immigration is NOT working. This tactic is old and pathetic. I will simplify it down to your school-yard bully mentality: sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will NEVER hurt me.

Dekalbite

March 25th, 2011
5:37 pm

I got ESOL certified because I taught so many ESOL students when I taught regular ed. If you’ve never taught ESOL kids in the regular ed classroom, you’re missing out on a great experience. They are a joy to teach. Find me one teacher who doesn’t love teaching ESOL kids in his/her class. Say what you want about them, but they are attentive, respectful, and want to learn. Their parents don’t demand anything but that their children pay attention and do the work. They will ALWAYS back the teacher. Kind of like teaching in the 50s. Most ESOL kids do double duty with extra jobs and many have adult home responsibilities since their parents often work 2 or even 3 jobs. If only American students had half their motivation, we would see a lot more literate graduates. I once had a 5th grade girl from Thailand who came to school with a broken leg (compound fracture) for a week before a teacher found out that’s why she was limping. I had a 4th grader with 2 pair of pants that he washed and rotated who never scored below a 100 on any classwork, homework or test. He a computer programmer in San Diego now. I had another 4th grader from Vietnam who lived with his dad and 3 older brothers. He was 9 years old and did all the cooking and cleaning when he came home from school. He never had less than an A in my class in any subject. No excuses. These are not just anecdotal cherry picking of select kids. That’s the way virtually ALL of my ESOL students were in the years and years I taught regular ed. Latino, Asian, African, Indian immigrants – their parents might not even read, but boy they sure drill respect for education into their kids. Find me a teacher who doesn’t like to teach these kids.

Wake UP

March 25th, 2011
5:39 pm

… Hispanic/Latino does not equal “illegal immigrant.”

The government has no idea how many illeegal aliens are in this country. Their guess-timate is extremely low. The latest Census was a complete joke!

Sam

March 25th, 2011
5:40 pm

Fericita…No one is afraid of immigrants. In fact most Americans welcome anyone who wants to come here to make a better life for themselves but when a mass illegal invasion threatens our culture, community, and drains our resources it only normal to resist it. If the latino community wants to be accepted they need to learn our language, leave their social at the boarder, quit running dope, and committing crimes.

Dekalbite@David Sims

March 25th, 2011
5:42 pm

I’ve had 6th graders who are Latino who could run circles around you in math. That’s many ESOL students’ forte. Is that why it’s so critical to get them out of our country?

Johnny B Good

March 25th, 2011
5:43 pm

“Say what you want about them, but they are attentive, respectful, and want to learn.”

Of course they are! Their livelihood and that of their family depends on it! Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free (and much, much more) on the backs of American taxpayers!

Sam

March 25th, 2011
5:44 pm

should be socialism

catlady

March 25th, 2011
5:49 pm

Well, in my system about 90% of the ELL kids, all Latino, are American citizens. They were born here. So it behooves us to give them the best education possible. I want them having good jobs and paying into SS so I can retire. And “whatever”, how do I know? Because they have valid SS numbers and birth certificates. The ones that do not have SS numbers are assigned a number, beginning with 800. And besides that, you can TELL who is a recent immigrant vs who is merely a native Spanish speaking child.

Dekalbite–my experience exactly. In the many years I taught regular ed and the more than a decade I have taught ESOL, I have had 3 (THREE) students out of hundreds whose parents did not back me up, who wanted to claim their kids were in trouble because “you are against Mexicans.” Not so with my non-ESOL kids. Many of their parents have a bad attitude about school and teachers. Sometimes my ESOL parents don’t know how to help their kids (they may be illiterate or have a native language that is NOT a written language) but they motivate their kids to stay out of trouble and work hard.

catlady

March 25th, 2011
5:51 pm

Note: It isn’t the schools. It is federal LAW.

Me

March 25th, 2011
5:55 pm

Forget the illegal immigrant debate for a second….
Why do we hear one ethnicity or another being targeted for us to “save”? Doesn’t every child need a balanced quality education? Oh wait…ahah! Politicians need VOTES. Forget all those kids of families that have already firmly set their political standings, lets find a goldmine of potential voters and tell them what they want to hear! This political machine sucks!

Perry

March 25th, 2011
6:13 pm

“Note: It isn’t the schools. It is federal LAW.”

Illegals broke a federal LAW, why do we have to follow laws and they don’t?
American taxpaying citizens are so tired of this debate.

And YES, we are talking about ILLEGALS. The White House knows most latinos are here illegally. And those documents you educators say you see, they are fake and you know it!

Really now...

March 25th, 2011
6:14 pm

@ Me, you are spot on! Good point!

Truthpaste

March 25th, 2011
6:16 pm

… I’ve had 6th graders who are Latino who could run circles around you in math.

Bravo! Then they can help mommy & daddy with calculating how much money it will take to get their illegal behinds back home! Thanks for teaching them practical Math skills!

Dekalbite@Johnny B Good

March 25th, 2011
6:19 pm

Well, maybe if American kids livelihood depended on their behavior and attentiveness in class, they would be be more successful in schools. Don’t you realize all those American kids who are not motivated to do well in school are going to be supported by your tax dollars? Duh….

We spend way more on Special Ed than on ESOL.
Woodward in DeKalb County on Buford Highway:
Economically Disadvantaged 99.9%
Hispanic: 92% (all Latino)
Students With Disabilities: 4.8%

Hightower:
97% Economically Disadvantaged
85% Asian and Hispanic (mainly Latino)
Students with Disabilities: 6%

Now take a look at affluent Fernbank in DeKalb County near Emory Univ.
Economically Disadvantaged: 17%
Asians: 18% (no Latinos)
Students with Disabilities: 9.6%

Look at schools with many ESOL students, and you will see there is a low percentage of Students with Disabilities at most of them. I don’t know the reason for this, but I do know the effect of it – that Special Ed services are much more expensive than the limited ESOL services these students receive.

ad naseum

March 25th, 2011
6:21 pm

The US cannot continue being everything to every culture in this country. The White House is pandering to the ILLEGAL population, giving them some sense of false hope that they will be granted amnesty. The overwhelming majority of our citizenry will not stand for it!

Teachers – the WH has just given you another burden with no pay increase yet again. Does that change your tune?

Shame On You

March 25th, 2011
6:25 pm

“Don’t you realize all those American kids who are not motivated to do well in school are going to be supported by your tax dollars? Duh….”

Because you are too busy paying attention to everyone else EXCEPT THEM!

Lyla Singfield

March 25th, 2011
6:31 pm

Yet nobody is talking about the businesses that are hiring illegal immigrants. Some of them are your neighbors, friends, church members, etc. They start a business, and hire illegal immigrants to make more at the bottom line. When you start checking and calling out these people, I will pay attention to your lip service.

I can count on two hands how many people that rail against illegal immigrants and then go and hire them for 20 bucks to move furniture or do their lawns.

Fericita

March 25th, 2011
6:36 pm

Sam, I agree that everyone in U.S. schools should learn English. I also think everyone in U.S. schools should learn a second language. Why we refuse to teach kids in Spanish at a young age when it’s easiest to learn it defies logic.

Dekalbite@ Shame on You

March 25th, 2011
6:42 pm

You’re wrong about that. You have not taught them. I have taught thousands of kids, hundreds of them ESOL. ESOL kids pay attention to the teacher and do their homework. American kids are busy talking to each other, and many don’t like to do their classwork or homework while ESOL kids are focused on what the teacher says and completing their work. Does your child always pay attention to the teacher and do all of his/her homework and study diligently for tests? If they do, then the teacher probably doesn’t give them a lot of attention. My attention and most of any teacher’s attention goes to students who do not pay attention and do not do their work. That’s not ESOL students. I’m American and my child is American so it’s painful to admit the work ethic for many American kids is so poor. Sorry if you don’t like to hear that from teachers, but that’s just the reality of it. The shame is in American parents who do not support the school and the teacher and insist that their child pays attention in class, is respectful to the teacher, and completes all of their schoolwork.

Dekalb Oldtimer

March 25th, 2011
6:42 pm

@Shame On You…If you were to come into one of the schools with a large number of Latino and Asian students [Woodward Elementary, Sequoyah Middle, Hightower Elementary,
Cross Keys High ] for 2 weeks…just to observe…you would be able to see just what Dekalbite is trying to point out.
As to the question/statement of the topic today: The education of these students is not only important, but teachers see such progress and such motivated students in this population…… and , heaven knows it’s a much better return on investment.

td

March 25th, 2011
6:52 pm

catlady

March 25th, 2011
5:49 pm
Well, in my system about 90% of the ELL kids, all Latino, are American citizens

How many of their parents are?

Dekalbite@ Dekalb Oldtimer

March 25th, 2011
6:52 pm

We use to say when they get two or three generations here they are Americanized, and their efforts and achievement begin to slip. I’ve taught at all the schools you mention, and what a pleasure it is to teach students who pay attention, are respectful, and do their work. I agree – you see a lot more progress for your efforts – very good ROI.

MS teacher

March 25th, 2011
6:57 pm

so when are we going to stop looking at kids based on race? The title should say, “White House: Education of poor children essential to America’s future.” It doesn’t matter what color they are. Poverty is the issue, not race. The race thing is just a ploy for Hispanic votes. And the White House needs to stay out of it. Only teachers (not the school boards, or systems, or state governments, or local governments) can help with that issue.

Dekalbite@ MS Teacher

March 25th, 2011
7:13 pm

“Poverty is the issue, not race.”

But the statistics for ESOL kids belie your statement. Look at Woodward and Hightower (see post above 6:19 pm). No one is poorer than ESOL students, and yet they have much higher achievement as compared to low income American children and most middle class American children. So we can’t lay all the blame on income. Much of the problems we have stem from poor support for educational effort on the part of American parents in general and the disintegration of intact families. This is vastly more complex than just looking at poverty. Poverty does not equal low achievement if you have involved parents who support the educational process. Americans at all income levels have lost much of their sense of delayed gratification, something immigrants and many developing countries are acquiring more of. Americans see education as a right while immigrants from developing countries see education as a privilege. Perhaps that accounts for their success in our schools.

Xicapotli Wasitiangui

March 25th, 2011
7:22 pm

VIVA Mexico!!!

Me

March 25th, 2011
7:23 pm

@Dekalbite: Why you don’t see many Latino kids with Special Needs? That’s an easy one! Two words: Cultural Values. Put White, AA and Hispanic pregnant women side by side and compare the compliance stats for seeking/continuing quality prenatal care. Latino women have fewer complications of pregnancy and fewer preterm babies So it’s not just the kids that are bright, attentive, motivated and respectful….Their parents are too and it shows in statistics ad nauseum.

OK this really has nothing to do with the original question, but I was just excited to know the answer to someones question! ; P

MS teacher

March 25th, 2011
7:25 pm

@ Dekalbite. ESOL is not a race. Hispanic is a race. The article is about educating Hispanics. I agree that ESOL students are hard workers, but not ESOL students are Hispanic. The article is about race, not educational exceptionalities.

joe in tucker

March 25th, 2011
7:28 pm

Latin America needs educated Latinos most but it also benefits the rest of the world, but it’s not our job to do the educating!!!

MS teacher

March 25th, 2011
7:29 pm

@ Me and Dekalbite
Why you don’t see many Latino kids with Special Needs?
because schools assume the child has a language issue, not a learning issue. More have special needs than we count, we just don’t address them.

Dekalbite

March 25th, 2011
7:37 pm

Race is not the issue. American cultural values regarding education are the question in ESOL achievement vs. American students. And the high educational achievement we see in ESOL students is true of students from Hispanic, African, and Asian countries.

Rendezvous

March 25th, 2011
7:38 pm

“…called the improved academic performance of Latino children a “national priority.”

Yes, and no. Yes for the offspring of LEGAL Latino immigrants. Hell NO for the offspring of ILLEGAL Latino immigrants who snuck into our country in order to download their babies.

Cherokee

March 25th, 2011
7:44 pm

How about we make the improved academic performance of all kids a national priority…

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

March 25th, 2011
7:59 pm

Cherokee,

Yours is a wise proposal.

Gung Ho Granny

March 25th, 2011
8:00 pm

That didn’t take long

March 25th, 2011
5:19 pm
When I saw the headline I knew it would get ugly fast. I live in the Chamblee and my kids go to school in Chamblee and Doraville. They go to school with many Hispanic children. Most of them ARE U.S. citizens.

I am not sure where you got your information but you are wrong. I had a woman in Doraville tell me (she is Hispanic, here legally) that the majority of the Hispanics in Doraville are illegal. If we are to bend over backwards for them, while our own children suffer, then they need to start paying taxes. Go into any check cashing place on Friday night and you will see them lined up to send all their money back to Mexico and that is a fact. So the above writer doesn’t know what she is talking about.

Well

March 25th, 2011
8:01 pm

Why can’t focus on all the kids. I feel like the white population is getting pushed to the back while everyone else is getting attention.

Jack

March 25th, 2011
8:06 pm

We’ve got too many babies from legals and illegals whose parents care nothing about their futures. We need to stop rewarding illegitmacy and promiscuity with American tax dollars.

ssteacher

March 25th, 2011
8:09 pm

@Dekalbite – I teach in Dalton. Same experience for me for the past 15 years. Give me the kids and parents of the English Language Learner any day. 100% support from the parents. First problems occur when they become “Americanized” to be disrespectful to adults. Guess where that comes from? ;-)

Newton

March 25th, 2011
8:09 pm

These latino children may have been born here, but that’s only because mom and dad trekked across the water illegally just before she dropped the load. How is it that they can benefit from an illegal act in the form of their children obtaining automatic citizenship, but if I obtain something (let’s say a house) because of illegal activity (let’s say drug dealing), my achievement is confiscated and considered ‘ill gotten gains’?

Government needs to focus on ALL children, not just the particular group they wish to pander to since 2012 is bearing down on us.