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White House Calls for Improved Hispanic Education

The White House releases a report on how Latino education achievement can be improved.

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The White House outlined a series of steps Friday to improve educational achievement among Hispanics, while detailing initiatives the Obama administration has taken to achieve that goal.

With more than 50 million Hispanics in the United States, they are the fastest-growing demographic, but have some of the lowest educational attainment levels. Latinos are also one of the youngest demographics in America, with 12.4 million enrolled in K-12 schools. One in five of America's students are Hispanic. Almost half of all Latino students never graduate from high school. Ten percent of all students are English-language learners.

Obama has made a point to improve Latino education. He has said achievement among Hispanic students is key if America wants to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world, a goal Obama has set for the U.S. to reach by 2020.

The president has focused on improving pre-K and early childhood education, asking for funding increases for Head Start and Early Head Start, programs that prepare children for school. The report also says Obama would like to extend his Race to the Top program to include early childhood education.

In September, the Obama administration announced the Promise Neighborhoods initiative, which will provide $30 million this year to fund continuing education in high-poverty communities, many of them with Latino-majority populations. Obama has requested $150 million for the program in 2012.

Other programs outlined include one that would train Latino teachers who could better relate to Latino students. Currently, just 7 percent of all teachers in the U.S. are Latino, and less than 2 percent of all teachers are Latino males. The government has also set aside $4 billion for school improvement grants. Many of these schools are in Latino-majority communities, with 40 percent of schools impacted being high schools.

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