Obama Seeks to Boost Hispanic Achievement

Forbes, October 19, 2010

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Tuesday intended to boost Hispanic education achievement, a priority for a key voting bloc two weeks ahead of critical midterm elections.

The measure is intended to widen the scope of a long-standing White House initiative on Latino education by increasing partnerships with the private sector and soliciting more input from the community. {snip}

In a ceremony in the East Room, Obama noted that Latinos make up the largest minority group in the country’s public schools, accounting for more than 1 in 5 students, but are likelier to attend low-performing schools and drop out.

{snip}

Tuesday’s announcement broke little new policy ground but allowed the White House to showcase an issue important to the Hispanic community ahead of midterm elections that will determine whether Democrats maintain control of Congress. Hispanic leaders and educators were invited, and were greeted by a mariachi band in the Grand Foyer outside the East Room.

Hispanics were 9 percent of all voters in 2008–similar to the 8 percent they represented in 2006 and 2004–and account for an even larger share of the electorate in several states where key Senate races are under way, including California and Nevada.

And, Hispanics put a higher premium on education than Americans overall do, according to an Associated Press-Univision Poll conducted earlier this year. Eighty-seven percent of Hispanics said a college education is extremely or very important, compared with 78 percent of the overall U.S. population.

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