News Column

Education Symposium Highlights Gaps

February 5, 2003

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) and the Center for Latino Educational Excellence (CLEE), an initiative of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI), the nation's foremost institute on Latino issues, will conduct an NHCSL Education Symposium in Albuquerque to establish an action plan that addresses the education achievement gaps impacting Latino students in public schools across the country.

The NHCSL Education Symposium, February 7-9, is a working session to develop a new comprehensive policy paper to identify the obstacles to educational achievement for Latino students in grades K-12 and the interventions that must be employed in the nation's public schools to dramatically increase educational achievement and attainment. Special attention will be given to transforming the current system through innovative solutions and programs.

The policy paper will be used as a blueprint to support action in selected state legislatures and will be presented at the 2nd National Summit of Hispanic State Legislators in Washington, DC, March 27-30, 2003.

"Hispanics are now the largest ethnic minority in the United States according to recently released population figures from the Census Bureau. Now more than ever it is critical that we as state legislators make education a top priority. The ability of our children to compete in the 21st century economy depends on it," said Kansas State Senator and NHCSL President, Paul Feleciano.

"Education is the key to limiting poverty, increasing literacy, reducing welfare and medical costs. This education symposium will be a forum to discuss ways Latinos can close the education achievement gap that exists in our society and move towards more economic equality," said New Mexico State Senator, Bernadette Sanchez.

"The educational crisis is a national crisis, not just a Hispanic one. This is the future work force of America," said Dr. Harry Pachon, President of TRPI. "Likewise, it will be a national disaster if this generation's potential is not fully developed."

"This project represents a large challenge and an even bigger opportunity to make a difference," said Lou Tornatzky, TRPI Vice President of Research and Director of CLEE.

The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of state legislators across the nation, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its mission is to organize, educate and focus the energies of nearly 300 Hispanics who comprise its membership in order to have a positive impact on their communities. NHCSL advocates for better housing, education, health care, and business opportunities in the private and public sectors for Hispanics nationwide.

NHCSL Education Symposium Registered State Legislators:
--Representative Ben Miranda, Arizona
--Assemblymember Marco Firebaugh, California
--Representative Juan Candelaria, Connecticut
--Representative Minnie Gonzalez, Connecticut
--Representative Felipe Reinoso, Connecticut
--Representative Joseph Miro, Delaware
--Representative Bob Henriquez, Florida
--Representative John Aguilera, Indiana
--Senator Paul Feleciano, Kansas
--Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez, Maryland
--Delegate Victor Ramirez, Maryland
--Representative Carlos Mariani, Minnesota
--Representative Mary Helen Garcia, New Mexico
--Senator Mary Jane Garcia, New Mexico
--Representative Rick Miera, New Mexico
--Senator Bernadette Sanchez, New Mexico
--Representative Felix Ortiz, New York
--Representative Peter Rivera, New York
--Senator Margarita Bey, Puerto Rico
--Representative Jessica Farrar, Texas
--Senator Mario V. Gallegos Jr., Texas
--Representative Rick Noriega, Texas
--Representative Dora Olivo, Texas
--Senator Leticia Van de Putte, Texas
--Representative Floyd Esquibel, Wyoming

Source: Copyright (C) 2003 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.

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