I have more than eight years of experience as an education reporter. I worked for The Dallas Morning News for six years and The Wichita Eagle in Kansas for two years. I hold a journalism degree from Northwestern University.
For the past two and a half years, I have had the honor of writing the Latino Ed Beat blog and working with the talented staff at the Education Writers Association.
I have always believed that with education, comes power. This is especially true for the Latino community. My passion for writing about the issues facing Latino students was born out of my own Mexican American background on my mother’s side.
For years, students attending the Los Angeles Unified School District could earn citations from police officers for behaviors such as fighting.
The criminalization of routine offenses committed by students now appears to be coming to an end. The school system announced this week that it would stop giving citations for such offenses, and would instead focus on programs for students who misbehave.
The small number of Latino and black students admitted to the elite high schools of the New York City public school system has been a source of frustration among civil rights leaders, families and other advocates for years.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the “Dream Act” last year allowing some undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to pay in-state tuition at New Jersey’s public universities.
New research challenges the assumption that Latino students who attend Hispanic Serving Institutions are less likely to graduate than their peers at other colleges and universities. HSIs have undergraduate enrollments that are at least 25 percent Hispanic.
Researchers examined the graduation rates of Latino and black students attending HSIs and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Texas from 1997 to 2008.
Arizona made national headlines in 2010 with its law banning ethnic studies in public schools. That move resulted in the dismantling of the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies program.
Four years later, educators in Texas and California are trying to drum up support for Latino and ethnic studies programs. The majority of public school students in both states are Latino.
Over the years, studying abroad has become a popular part of the undergraduate college experience.
But studies show that it is also an experience that many low-income and minority students do not take part in.
According to the annual Open Doors Report by the Institute of International Education, in 2011-12 a record number of American students studied abroad — 283,332. But more than three-quarters of those students were white.
A new study published in the journal Pediatrics finds that low-income Latino and black youth who attend high-performing schools tend to engage in fewer risky health behaviors.
Researchers surveyed 930 high school students in Los Angeles — 521 who by lottery gained admission to top charter schools, and 409 not offered admission. Researchers noted that both groups were similar in demographics and in performance on exams in the eighth grade.
In 2004, a group of four undocumented immigrant Latino high school students accomplished an astonishing achievement.
Competing on a robotics team formed at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, the four young men defeated students from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology in an elite robotics competition.
Even in a largely rural state, Latinos are quickly reshaping demographics.
A new report reveals that Kansas public schools are losing white students and adding Hispanic students — fueling enrollment growth.
The new report by the Kansas Association of School Boards projects that by 2018-19, Latino students could make up about 22 percent of the state’s student enrollment, while white students will make up only 60 percent.
Oregon public schools are struggling to meet teacher diversity hiring goals set by the state Legislature. The state had set the goal of increasing the number of minority teachers by 10 percent between 2012 and 2015. But they are currently not on track to achieve that goal.
Young people in the United States continue to grow in diversity – especially when compared against older generations – according to newly released Census data.
Notably, in some states there are wide gaps between the demographics of young people and older Americans. Those gaps can sometimes cause tensions. Some of those gaps can be attributed to immigration. However, most of the growth in the Hispanic population can now be attributed to U.S. births.
Admission to New York City’s top public high schools is based on performance on a single exam. Whether intended or not, the result has been a shocking lack of diversity, especially when compared against the school district’s demographics.
The push for change is building. While former Mayor Michael Bloomberg backed the exam, newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to end the single test admissions system.
The single test standard to gain admittance to the elite eight schools, which include the renowned Stuyvesant High School, has been in place since 1971.
A California judge on Tuesday issued a preliminary decision finding that the state’s teacher tenure laws disproportionately hurt disadvantaged and minority students.
Los Angeles Judge Rolf M. Treu went as far as to write that the situation “shocks the conscience” and violated students’ civil rights. The lawsuit alleged that tenure and layoff policies hurt students by making it harder to get rid of bad teachers.
A new study by researchers from Stanford University finds that “book sharing” is less prevalent in immigrant families, most significantly among Hispanic and Asian families.
Book sharing was defined who read or share picture books with young children. The findings were based on data from the California Health Interview Survey of parents with children under age six in 2005, 2007, and 2009.
A class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday accuses the state of California of failing to provide adequate classroom instructional time to minority and low-income students.
The suit, Cruz v. State of California, was brought by students who attend seven economically disadvantaged schools in the state. Schools in Los Angeles and Compton are included in the lawsuit, as are Bay Area schools.
With the recent 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, civil rights and advocacy groups issued reports highlighting the continued segregation in American schools today.
The superintendent of Hamilton Township School District in New Jersey took the unusual step of posting an online commentary on the district’s website lamenting de facto segregation in the school district he leads.
This week, the spirits of undocumented immigrant students were lifted in two large states: Virginia and Florida.
In Virginia, Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring announced on Tuesday that students raised in the state but brought into the country illegally as young children could qualify for in-state tuition.
New data shows that the four-year high school graduation rates of Latino students are steadily increasing, but still lag the national average.
The newly released report from the National Center for Education Statistics examined four-year rates in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Between those graduation years the rate rose for all students from 79 percent to 80 percent.
The rate for Latino students rose from 71 percent in 2010-11 to 73 percent in 2011-12.
A report by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights finds that a Colorado school district created a hostile environment for Hispanic and Spanish-speaking students, parents and teachers.
The report also concluded that the Adams 14 district in Commerce City, a district of about 7,000 students just north of Denver, did not effectively communicate with parents with limited English skills.
Education and civil rights groups are already reacting with concern to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-2 decision Tuesday to uphold Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in state public universities’ admissions.
Many pointed toward the dissenting opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who as a Latina raised in a low-income home has insights into the issue on a personal level.
The states with the largest Latino populations don’t necessarily have the best track record for graduating Latinos from college, a new state-by-state analysis shows.
According to the report from the advocacy group Excelencia in Education, in 2011-12 only about 20 percent of Latinos ages 25 and older had at least an associate’s degree. The overall population had a much higher rate, at 36 percent.
Georgia schools are grappling with how to educate growing numbers of immigrant students, while lacking a history of serving such a population.
The state faces a new reality of a rapidly growing and youthful Latino population, without the experience of states such as Texas and California.
A new report from the Migration Policy Institute, “Education Reform in a Changing America: Promoting High School and College Success for Immigrant Youth,” concludes that the state still has a long way to go in meeting the needs of immigrant students.
Hispanic students who attend Los Angeles charter schools make greater gains in reading and math over the course of a year than their Hispanic peers in traditional public schools, according to a new study.
Some south Texas teachers are campaigning for the creation of a Mexican American Studies curriculum to be taught in the state’s public schools.
The El Paso Times reports that the school board of the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso voted to urge the Texas State Board of Education to offer Mexican American Studies content in literature and history classes pre-K through twelfth grade.
Despite having one of the largest Hispanic populations in the country, Florida legislators have struggled for years to drum up support for a measure granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant college students.
Now the proposal is beginning to look more within reach. Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, expressed support for the measure for the measure this week.
A new study examines the strategies used to improve Latino students’ access to financial aid in San Antonio, Texas.
The advocacy group Excelencia in Education conducted the study entitled “The Impact of Financial Aid on Student College Access and Success: The San Antonio Experience.”
The study highlights the importance of financial aid by noting that U.S. Census Bureau data from 2011 showed that only 12 percent of Latino adults in San Antonio have an associate’s degree or higher — in a city that is 72 percent Latino.
It may seem like a paradox: Many Latino and black male students enter community college with enthusiasm and high aspirations. However, minority males are less likely to complete their degrees than their white male counterparts.
HSIs are defined by the federal government as having a full-time student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic. In 2012-13, there were 370 HSIs in the country. They enroll about 60 percent of all Latino undergraduate students.
A Kansas state representative wants to begin asking children who enroll in public schools for proof of citizenship or legal presence in the United States.
Republican Rep. Allan Rothlisberg said that he wants to track how much money is spent on educating undocumented immigrants.
Even if he is successful, the 1982 Plyler v. Doe decision concluded that all children are entitled to a free public education, no matter their status. Rothlisberg said he is aware that schools must follow the law.
Four elite California research universities are pooling their resources to increase the number of Latino and black students earning PhDs in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angeles have pledged to work together to increase the number of underrepresented minorities earning doctorates in STEM-related fields. In turn, the universities hope to also increase the number of minority faculty members in those fields.
Many states are struggling mightily to hire minority teachers who reflect the growing diversity of their public school students.
In Iowa, the gap is particularly jarring. According to the state’s recently released “2013 Annual Condition of Education” report, in 2012-13 about 20.2 percent of the state’s students were minorities (about 9.3 percent were Hispanic).
Hispanic teens who are better integrated with their English-speaking and non-Hispanic peers feel better about themselves and their future prospects than those who are segregated and less English proficient, a new study finds.
The American Dream narrative is a storyline so deeply embedded in American popular culture that as writers, we use it often in our storytelling.
Most journalists who seek to write narrative stories have used this dream concept before. I framed a story about a young man, Luis Duarte, from El Salvador who went on to attend Harvard University, around this theme. He struggled with the decision to attend Harvard because he worked while in high school to help financially support his family and he was afraid to leave them behind.
Despite the years of conversation about expanded preschool being the key to closing achievement gaps, a new report says that federal funding for children ages zero to eight is not increasing. In fact, it is trending slightly downward.
Early education is a critical issue for Latinos. They are less likely to attend preschool than black or Hispanic children.
The Virginia-based nonprofit “Dream Project” provides counseling and scholarships to undocumented immigrant students so they can attend college.
The group is especially important because Virginia does not offer in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants. The program offers mentoring, professional and academic activities and scholarships of about $1,000-$2,000 to deserving students.
Former New York CIty Mayor Michael Bloomberg viewed breaking up large failing high schools and creating smaller ones as one potential remedy to closing the achievement gap.
Now his successor, newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio will have the opportunity to reverse the program.
In a commentary piece for Education Week, University of California, Berkeley education professor Bruce Fuller writes that many of the smaller campuses just furthered segregation by race and class. Small schools sometimes have just 200 students.
Two new reports by The Education Trust recognize universities that are making the greatest strides in closing achievement gaps for Latino students.
The first study identifies San Diego State University and the University of Southern California for significantly increasing graduation rates among Latino students.
According to the report, the six-year graduation rate for Latino students who began school in 1996 was 31 percent. The rate for students who began in 2005 improved to 58.8 percent. At USC, the graduation rate reached nearly the same level as white students.
While Latinos are making great strides in taking more Advanced Placement courses and exams, they still lag significantly in some specific courses.
For example, while many Hispanic students take AP Spanish classes, very few are taking computer science. Education Week reported on an analysis by Georgia Tech scientist Barbara Ericson of 2013 trends in computer science test-takers. She found that in eight states, no Hispanic students took the exam, including Kansas and Nebraska.
Very few Latino and Spanish-speaking students attend the Cleveland school district’s four science and math specialty high schools.
Indeed, only 130 Hispanic students attend the schools out of the district’s total Hispanic enrollment of 5,586 Hispanic students. The disparity was so extreme that it caught the eye of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). This week, the office announced an agreement with the district to remedy the problem.
The specialty high schools have STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder urged a major overhaul of school discipline policies on Wednesday.
In a joint announcement of new guidelines on the issue, they sharply criticized school districts that suspend minorities at disproportionately high rates and also punish students for minor infractions. They also were critical of infractions being handled as criminal matters. The announcement was a major takedown of so-called “zero tolerance” policies.
A new report card grading the well-being of California’s children concludes the state has a long way to go if it wants to earn an “A.”
The advocacy group Children Now has released the “2014 California Children’s Report Card: How Kids are Doing in Our State and What Needs to Be Done About It,” which grades the state on 27 indicators. The grades are based around issues related to education, health and child welfare.
The majority of the state’s public school students are Latino.
Among the different grades assigned in the education section:
Even though Laurel Elementary School in Los Angeles faces considerable challenges, it boasts an impressive list of accolades.
Most Laurel students come from low-income backgrounds, and about 60 percent are English Language Learners. The students have tended to perform better on math than language arts on California standardized tests, according to The Hechinger Report.
When Los Angeles Times reporters surveyed California high schools about how many college recruiters visited the campuses this fall, they found glaring disparities between rich and poor.
While the private The Webb Schools in Claremont was visited by 113 colleges and universities, the public Jefferson High School in South Los Angeles was visited by just eight recruiters. The newspaper found that schools with higher numbers of low-income, Latino and black students received the most visitors.
The state of Missouri does not provide in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students by law at its public higher education institutions — but that isn’t stopping one college from taking action on its own.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that St. Louis Community College has decided to offer in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students. That will cut the tuition rate from the international rate of $209 to $98 for students local to the college’s area and $144 for other Missouri residents.
While Latinos make up the majority of California’s public school students, they continue to lag white students on academic achievement measures.
California may have more experience working with Latino students than other states, but that hasn’t translated into better academic returns. The Associated Press points out that Hispanic students often attend poorly funded schools with larger class sizes and fewer academic courses.
New Jersey will finally move forward with allowing some undocumented immigrants raised in the United States to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, following a long tussle back and forth about the legislation.
Students enrolled in school districts in some of the nation’s largest cities are making significant academic gains that sometimes even outpaced their peers elsewhere in the nation, according to new data.
Since 2002, the Trial Urban District Assessment has tracked student achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress — known as America’s report card. The program has grown to encompass 21 urban school districts and tracks the performance of fourth- and eighth-graders in math and reading. The large districts surveyed volunteer to take part in testing.
A suburban Chicago school district with a Spanish-English dual language program has proven so popular that it will now be expanded to the high school level.
The Chicago Tribune reports that North Shore District 112 first began its program, which serves native English and Spanish speakers, in 1996. It has grown to 636 students, or 15 percent of the school district’s enrollment.
Students learn about 80 percent of the time in Spanish at the younger grade levels in kindergarten through second grade, and reach half Spanish and half English by about fifth grade.
Hispanic leaders in Nevada are calling attention to an important education issue that takes place outside of the classroom — the lack of Hispanic representation on many of the state’s elected education boards.
Even in the Clark County School District, where about 44 percent of the students are Hispanic, there was no Hispanic member until recently. When a vacancy came open, the board voted to appoint a Hispanic to the seven-member board earlier this month.
A new study shows that children with parents with high stress levels have a greater likelihood of being obese.
Voxxi News reports that the findings appear in the journal Pediatric Obesity and also show that the link is especially pronounced among Latinos.
The researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto examined the impact of stress on children’s body mass index, or BMI. Parents were also asked questions about their stress levels, such as whether they felt issues were piling up so much they could not overcome them, PsychCentral reported.
A small Texas town is embroiled in debate after a middle school principal allegedly told students over a public address system that they would not be allowed to speak Spanish in class.
Hempstead Middle School Principal Amy Lacey is now on paid administrative leave while the Hempstead Independent School District investigates the incident, KHOU reported. According to the Texas Education Agency, about 53 percent of the school’s 206 students were Hispanic in the 2011-12 school year.
Sometimes even preschool is too late to effectively intervene and boost the achievement levels of low-income Latino children.
But home visiting programs bring school into the home, and help parents become their child’s first teacher. A recent report by the Latino Policy Forum, “Primeros Pasos,” shows how such programs are making a positive difference in Illinois.
Latina teens who are bilingual, have Hispanic teachers and counselors, and are involved in extracurricular activities have a stronger likelihood of attending college, a new study has found.
The report, “Making Education Work for Latinas in the U.S.,” was conducted by The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at the University of California, Los Angeles, and commissioned by the actress Eva Longoria and her foundation.
A growing number of school districts and universities are working together to push more Latino youth to pursue a college education.
At the same time, school districts also are seeking to boost Latino parent involvement.
A program called Juntos, which means “together” in Spanish, tackles both goals. The program originated at North Carolina State University and now is being replicated at middle and high schools in several states. It is intended for students in the eighth- through twelfth-grades.
Hispanic parents who are recent immigrants experience higher levels of stress than U.S.-born Hispanic parents and immigrant parents who have been in the United States for a longer period of time, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Study after study shows that Latino and black students tend to be suspended at much higher rates than white students.
Yet another study recently grabbed news headlines making the same findings. In “Beyond Zero Tolerance,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania found that ten of every 100 Latino students in the state have received out-of-school suspensions at least once.
Latino students are three times more likely than white students to be suspended. Researchers concluded that Pennsylvania has one of the highest out-of-school suspension rates in the nation.
The Seattle Public Schools system is using an international schools model in an effort to focus on helping English language learners and students learning other languages.
The system’s international schools are taking a dual-language approach that allows students to study in their core subject areas in their primary and secondary language. A recent report by the group Alliance for Excellent Education credits the school system with creating a network of programs that is assisting ELLs with their language development.
A recent report offers a snapshot of how Latino infants and toddlers are faring compared to their peers.
The McCormick Foundation and Child Trends offer some insights through the report, “The Youngest Americans: A Statistical Portrait of Infants and Toddlers in the United States.”
Among the most concerning findings — Latino toddlers are half as likely to be read to as their white peers. Additionally, they are a third less likely to be sung to or have stories told to them, another indicator that assists with language development.
New Jersey is moving closer to passing legislation that would give undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children the ability to pay in-state tuition and receive financial aid at state colleges and universities.
On Thursday, a state Senate committee voted to approve the legislation, sending it to a full vote next week.
Latino high school graduates in California choose to enroll in community college at much higher rates than other groups — even those who graduate from the state’s top high schools.
About one out of three Latino graduates chooses community college, compared with about one out of four white, black and Asian students.
Additionally, about 46 percent of Latino graduates from the top 10 percent of California high schools enroll in community colleges — compared with 27 percent of whites, 23 percent of blacks, and 19 percent of Asians.