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October 20, 2010 3:03 PM Executive Orders and Hispanic Education

By Daniel Luzer

On Tuesday President Obama signed an executive order to improve the education of Hispanic students. According to a CNN piece:

The expanded White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics, originally launched by the administration of President George H.W. Bush, seeks to improve educational opportunities for Hispanic students at every level….
The order signed by Obama includes an enhanced interagency working group and a 30-member presidential advisory commission as part of the initiative’s work.

When signing the order Obama pointed out that less than half of Hispanic children attend preschool and more than half don’t graduate from high school. According to a Wall Street Journal article today, while Hispanics represent 20 percent of people younger than 35, “only 17.5% of young Hispanics have at least a two-year degree.”

Among all Hispanics, only 19 percent hold an associate degree or higher. This is in contrast to 59 percent of Asians, 39 percent of whites, and 59 percent of blacks.

So is the situation dire? Well, it all depends on how you look at it. While current education rates of Hispanics are low, they’ve also been improving dramatically over the last few years. According to a recent report by Excelencia in Education, since 2005 Hispanics “had the largest growth in undergraduate degrees earned by any racial/ethnic group-12.5 percent.” The national average was an increase of only 1.7 percent.

According to the executive order the new initiative will “develop a national network of individuals, organizations, and communities to share and implement best practices related to the education of Hispanics.”

With an increase of 12.5 percent, it looks like “best practices” are exactly what Hispanic communities have been doing over the last five years.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer