Winning the Future: Improving Education for the Latino Community

It is no surprise that the Latino population in the United
States is growing rapidly. Between 2000-2010 the national Latino population
increased by 15.2 million people, more than half of the overall population
growth during that time period. The Latino community is also young on average.
There are 17.1 million Latinos under the age of 17, and they comprise 22
percent (one in five) of all prek-12 students currently enrolled in America’s
public schools. This rise in population combined with the youthfulness of the
Latino population makes them a vital component to our future success as a
nation. However, educational statistics among the Latino population are
troubling: Latinos have low participation in early childhood education programs;
subpar graduation rates; and less than 15 percent of them go on to receive
their bachelor’s degree.

A recent report by the Department of Education highlights
the state of education in the Latino community, drawing attention to areas that
must improve:

  • Early
    childhood education:
    Future success in education is often contingent on the
    educational experience that children receive at an early age. Latino children
    represent the largest segment of the early childhood population, however less
    than half of Latino children are enrolled in an early childhood program.
  • Low
    graduation rates:
    One of the main goals of the public education system is
    to see that all students graduate from high school equipped with necessary
    skills to enter college. Currently one in five students in the public school
    system is Latino, yet almost half of them never graduate from high school.
    Latino students also participate less frequently in Advanced Placement courses.
  • Supporting
    English Learners
    : English learners comprise 10 percent of the Nation’s
    students in grades K-12. Sadly, more than two thirds of ELLs score below basic
    proficiency in reading and math.

Ohio is also experiencing Latino population growth, and
educational underperformance of this subgroup. 
According to the recent 2010
data the Latino population in Ohio increased by 63 percent since
2010, and they now represent 3.4 percent of Ohio’s total population.  Academic performance for Latino students in
Ohio is also cause for concern. Graduation rates for Latino students are 61.4
percent, compared to 88.6 percent for white students.  Proficiency rates are also subpar for K-12
Latino students, with only 63.4 of third grade students proficient in
reading.  As the Latino population
continues to grow nationally and in Ohio, policy makers and educators must find
ways to improve their educational attainment.

the Future: Improving Education for the Latino Community

Department of Education
April 2011