Thursday, June 15, 2000


Today, at the White House, President Clinton hosted a White House Strategy Session on Improving Hispanic Student Achievement.At the day-long session, educators and leaders from the public, private and non-profit sectors discussed the need for a national effort to close the achievement gap between Hispanic students and their peers. The President released a report documenting the achievement gap, called for a national commitment to five major goals aimed at improving Hispanic achievement, and unveiled several public- and private-sector commitments targeted to reaching those goals over the next decade. The President also noted that progress toward closing the achievement gap would be threatened by the education spending bill passed in the House yesterday which fails to fund the President's Hispanic Education Action Plan and other critical education measures.

Highlighting the Need to Boost Hispanic Student Achievement. Today's strategy session focused on the importance of raising the academic achievement of Hispanics - our nation's fastest growing population group. The President released a report by his Council of Economic Advisers, Educational Attainment and Success in the New Economy: An Analysis of Challenges for Improving Hispanic Students' Achievement, which documents the achievement gap between Hispanics and their peers and the importance of educational achievement in the new economy. The report illustrates that, in spite of progress that has been made over the last several decades, troubling gaps exist between Latino students and their peers at all levels.

Challenging the Nation to Reach Key Goals. The President announced five major goals for improving Hispanic student achievement, and challenged the nation to achieve them by 2010:

  1. Increasing access to quality early childhood education;
  2. Ensuring that Hispanic students achieve English language proficiency;
  3. Eliminating the achievement gap on state assessments;
  4. Increasing the rate of high school completion; and
  5. Doubling the rate of college completion.

At the strategy session, Education Secretary Riley released the first of what will become an annual measure of progress toward achieving the President's five goals.

Announcing Commitments to Support Hispanic Achievement. The President unveiled several commitments by the private and public sectors in support of his Latino achievement agenda, including:

Continuing a Commitment to Education. The President's FY 2001 budget continues its investment in programs that improve the educational achievement of Hispanic Americans, with an $823 million increase for programs that are part of the Hispanic Education Action Plan. Unfortunately, in this year's appropriations bills, the House underfunds this plan by more than $650 million, and the Senate falls more than $200 million short of the President's budget request. President Clinton reiterated his threat to veto the education spending bill passed by the House yesterday, which also fails to strengthen accountability and turn around failing schools, reduce class size, fund emergency repairs and renovation of aging schools, sufficiently expand after-school opportunities, help prepare low-income students for college through GEAR-UP, fund programs to improve teacher quality, help bridge the digital divide, and adequately fund child care and investments in Head Start.

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