The Road to a College Diploma
The Complex Reality of Raising Educational Achievement
for Hispanics in the United States
Interim Report submitted to President Bush
September 30, 2002
President Bush charged the Advisory Commission on the Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans with assessing the state of Hispanic education in the United States and developing a plan for overcoming the obstacles Hispanic students face in completing a college education. In their dedication to meet this charge, Commission members met with and heard testimony from 56 education experts who helped to guide them toward preliminary recommendations. The Commission held seven substantive meetings and four unprecedented bilingual town hall meetings where members heard firsthand from more than 1,600 parents, students, educators, business and community leaders, and public officials in diverse Hispanic communities, including East Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, and Atlanta.
In the interim report (PDF)submitted to the President on September 30, 2002, the Commission developed five strategic imperatives to guide their upcoming work, which is scheduled to be released in a final report on March 31, 2003.
Coordinating a National Campaign for Action
Closing the education gap for Hispanic children requires a coordinated, national campaign that will integrate the efforts of students, parents, educators, community and business leaders, and public officials at the local, state, and Federal levels.
Putting College on the Radar Screen
For many Hispanic parents and their children, language and cultural differences, as well as unfamiliarity with the educational system, hinder their ability to envision a college degree as an achievable goal. The Commission will continue to evaluate the results of a public awareness campaign to raise the ceiling of educational aspiration for Hispanic families.
Establishing Measurable Strategies and Goals
An effective national action plan must include measurable strategies and goals, both short- and long-term, sustainable for future generations of Hispanic children.
Abandoning One-Size-Fits-All Thinking
Many in the Hispanic community share common values and a common language, but the accelerating growth of Hispanic populations throughout the United States poses unique challenges based on their ethnicity, language preference, socioeconomic status, and length of time in the U.S. Our strategies, while national in scope, must reflect the great diversity within the Hispanic population.
Asking What Works and for Whom
Our research data are woefully insufficient concerning the impact of important characteristics--such as nationality, legal status, and linguistic challenges--on the academic success of Hispanic children. We know far too little about which programs or strategies work best and for whom. We need new scientific research. The Commission will pursue two research questions through the work of various expert panels, such as the National Panel on the Development of Literacy Among Language Minority Children and Youth.
The mission of the President's Commission, as set forth in the President's Executive Order 13230, is to achieve educational excellence for Hispanic Americans. The Commission, in meeting its obligations, aims to ensure that all children of Hispanic heritage, regardless of where they were born or when they came to this country, have the same opportunities for educational advancement, to realize the American dream, and to succeed.
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