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NEA Vice President Eskelsen joins President’s advisory commission

Commission aims to improve educational outcomes for Hispanics

WASHINGTON - October 06, 2011 -

NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen today was sworn-in to The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics’ Presidential Advisory Commission. The commission advises President Barack Obama and the U.S. Secretary of Education on matters pertaining to the education attainment of Hispanic students. 

“I am thrilled to join this commission because its work matters and because so much depends on its success,” said NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen. “In a global economy, how do we make sure Hispanic students excel, how do we nurture an immigrant student’s dream to succeed in America? How do we make sure that they hold on to their language and culture while preparing them to compete in a 21st century economy?”

Hispanics are the largest minority group attending public schools in the United States today, with more than 1 in 5 students in the nation’s elementary, middle and high schools;  but Hispanics also have the lowest education attainment level overall, according to a report by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. According to the report, Latino students are more likely to attend the lowest-performing schools, more likely to be forced to learn in larger class sizes and more likely to drop out of school at higher rates. Fewer than half of Latino students take part in early childhood education. Only about half of them graduate on time from high school. And those who do make it to college often find themselves underprepared for its rigors.

“Education is a prerequisite for prosperity,” noted Eskelsen. “Hispanic students are enrolled in our public schools now and they will make up a large portion of our labor force in the future—they are the future taxpayers, business leaders, inventors, writers, artists and engaged members if society that will drive this economy. It is imperative that we start addressing their educational needs now. If America leaves our Latino community behind, we do so at our own peril.” 

The Presidential Advisory Commission is comprised of 30 members, appointed by President Obama, who have relevant experience or subject matter expertise that the President deems appropriate. Appointed members also represent a variety of sectors, including education, labor, corporate and financial. Research institutions, public and private philanthropic organizations as well as national, state, regional and local nonprofit and community-based organizations are represented on the commission.

“I look forward to working with the President’s commission to ensure that all children receive a quality public education that prepares them to succeed in life,” concluded Eskelsen.

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee 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,