In a ceremony in the East Room of the White House today, President Obama signed an Executive Order to renew and enhance the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics so that it better serves communities across the country by engaging them in the process of improving the education of Latino students.
Among the changes, the new Executive Order provides a better structure for the Initiative to take action and forge partnerships between the public, private, and non-profit sectors in local communities nationwide. An enhanced inter-agency working group and a 30 member Presidential advisory commission will now work with the Initiative to bring the voice of the American people into the policy making process. The presidential advisory commission will be Chaired by Eduardo Padrón, President of Miami Dade Community College.
"Making sure we offer all our kids, regardless of race, a world-class education is more than a moral obligation, it's an economic imperative if we want America to succeed in the 21st century," said President Obama. "But it's not something that can fall to the Department of Education alone. It's going to take all of us -- public and private sector, teachers and principals, parents getting involved in their kids' education, and students giving their best -- because the farther they go in school, the farther they'll go in life."
The new Executive Order is based on feedback gathered by the Initiative in more than 100 community conversations across the country with experts in education, community leaders from more than 30 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from comments from more than 10,000 Americans on how to develop real solutions to the challenges confronting the Hispanic community in education.
As the nation's largest minority group, Latinos number more than 11 million students in America's public elementary and secondary schools and constitute more than 22 percent of all pre-K--12 students. More than one in five students enrolled in America's schools is Latino.
"To reach the ambitious education goals President Obama has set for our nation and ensure America's future competitiveness in a global economy, we must raise Hispanic education attainment at every level," said Juan Sepulveda, Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, who carried out the community conversations over the past year and a half. "This new executive order will place a high priority on the type of action needed to do exactly that."
The signing ceremony follows a National Education Summit and Call to Action hosted by the U.S. Department of Education that began on Monday bringing Administration officials together with experts in education and Hispanic community leaders from around the country on issues ranging from early childhood learning to higher education.