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President Obama To Sign Executive Order on Hispanic Education

President Obama will sign an executive order Tuesday focused on improving educational outcomes for Hispanic students. Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke with reporters via phone conference Monday afternoon about the initiative. Duncan said the order, called the "White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics," will aim to boost retention rates in high schools for Hispanic students, only about half of whom who start high school are expected to reach graduation.

The initiative will focus on four key areas, Duncan said, including enabling communities to share best practices, strengthening public-private partnerships, establishing an inter-agency working group tasked with addressing retention issues, and ensuring federal programs meet the needs of Hispanic students of all ages.

"For the last decade, Hispanic students have been the biggest minority group in our public schools. They represent almost a quarter, almost 25 percent of our nation's students. To improve our country's education system, we have to improve outcomes for all students, but particularly Hispanic students," Duncan said in the press briefing. "…Hispanic students often face the greatest challenges in the education system. Overall, only 75 percent of our high school freshmen will graduate four years later. For Hispanic students, this is true for only about half, about 50 percent of students. And for those who are lucky enough to graduate and go on to college, many are unable to finish because they're ill-prepared or face financial challenges. … These facts are both economically unsustainable and morally unacceptable."

The initiative is being headed up by Juan Sepúlveda, whose role in the United States Department of Education had been focused on directing similar activities since his appointment in May 2009.

The order is expected to be signed in the East Room of the White House at 10 a.m. PDT/1 p.m. EDT. A live Webcast of the event will be accessible via the White House's site here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .