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NEA’s Eskelsen welcomes renewed White House focus on meeting educational needs of Hispanic community

WASHINGTON - October 19, 2010 -

President Obama today signed an executive order renewing the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics that will continue the work of expanding education opportunities and improving education outcomes for Hispanic students. The initiative, first established in September 1990 to provide advice and guidance to the Secretary of Education on education issues related to Hispanics, has been renewed by every president since then. This latest renewal comes on the heels of a summit sponsored by the Department of Education that aims to increase access to education among Hispanic Americans.  NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen, one of the highest ranking labor leaders and most influential Hispanic educators, today welcomed the actions the Obama administration is taking.

Hispanics are changing the composition of cities and states from coast-to-coast and influencing all segments of American life. Today about one out of every five public school students—10 million children—are Hispanic, and approximately half of them also are English language learners. That means in 12 years—16 if college is taken into account—25 percent of the national workforce will be Latino. They will pay taxes, raise families, vote, run for office and run businesses.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen:

“Public education has always been the key to opportunity for all Americans—la llave a la puerta de la oportunidad—and that will be true for Hispanics as well.

“Education is a prerequisite for prosperity. The growing number of Hispanic students attending our public schools—who will make up a large portion of our labor force in the years ahead—makes it imperative that we address their educational needs. If America leaves our Latino community behind, we do so at our own peril. 

“That’s why we welcome the renewed commitment of the Obama administration—demonstrated both by the summit and the executive order renewing the White House Initiative—to ensure wider educational opportunities and improved education outcomes for all students.

“We will continue working with the Obama administration, the White House Initiative, and the Latino community to ensure Latino children and all children receive a quality public education.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing
3.2  million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,