Background On the Initiative:
First established in September of 1990, the Initiative was created to advise the Secretary of Education on issues related to Hispanics and to address academic excellence and opportunities for the Hispanic Community.
Hispanic students face educational challenges of crisis proportions. Fewer than half of all Hispanic children participate in early childhood education programs, and far too few Hispanic students graduate from high school; of those who do complete high school, many are not adequately prepared for college. Only 13 percent of adult Hispanics have a bachelor’s degree, and just 4 percent have completed graduate or professional degree programs.
At the same time, large numbers of Hispanic adults lack the education or literacy skills they need to advance their careers; they also are less likely than members of other groups to have taken job- or career-related courses, with the exception of basic education classes, such as English as a second language.
In May of 2009, Juan Sepúlveda was appointed as Executive Director to the Office of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics under the Obama Administration, with the charge of taking the Initiative to a higher level with greater community input and coordination of education policy and programs impacting the Hispanic community.
Since then, the Initiative office has engaged in community conversations with 90 communities in 30 states with over 10,000 participants between June and December 2009. The community conversations brought to the forefront key challenges and priorities of the education system with respect to the Hispanic community, enlisted individuals and organizations to join the Initiative’s national network, and partnered with others across the country to work on key issues. The new Executive Order, to supersede previous ones, reflects the new initiatives.
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