News Column

Partners in Hispanic Education Host Feria Educativa in the Bronx

February 4, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Feb. 6-7, 2004, the Partners in Hispanic Education, consisting of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, the U.S. Department of Education and some of the nation's leading Hispanic organizations, corporate leaders and national private entities, will convene to host the third of seven nationwide education outreach events for Hispanic American families.

The two-day Feria Educativa will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 6 in the Repertory Theatre located on the campus of Eugenio Marķa de Hostos Community College (CUNY) in the Bronx, N.Y. The program will consist of presentations, plenary sessions and panel discussions on ideas aimed at closing the academic achievement gap and improving college access for Hispanic Americans, our nation's largest minority group. In addition, the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA) will broadcast select portions of the event to the Little Havana School in Miami, Fla., and George I. Sanchez Charter High School campuses in Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

Eugene Hickok, acting deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, will address the conference on Friday afternoon at 1:15 p.m., to discuss the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on the Hispanic community. "No Child Left Behind recognizes that every child can learn. It strikes a blow against the soft bigotry of low expectations," said Deputy Secretary Hickok. "The law gives all of us a new set of tools to increase student performance and give every American the opportunity to achieve his or her dreams. We have an obligation -- a duty -- to ensure that all children of Hispanic descent are given the opportunity to fulfill their ambitions. And there is no more certain path to realizing this goal than through education."

The event, organized by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USHCC Foundation) and the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP), will feature several resources available from local schools, institutions, community-based organizations and businesses that serve the Bronx community, along with programs from national organizations and the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in the USHCC Foundation's Youth Entrepreneurship BizFest, a series of intensive training sessions for future business leaders.

"The path students take after high school will determine their success in their professions and in life. That's why as business and community leaders we have the responsibility to support Latino youths on their road to college and post-secondary preparation," stated Frank Lopez, president of the USHCC Foundation. "Feria Educativa takes it a step further by empowering young Latinos with the knowledge and tools that will help them make the right decisions and become successful contributors to our society." NCCEP and the USHCC Foundation serve as national lead partners for the Bronx event.

"Building a strong agenda for educational reform requires the collaborative talents, experience and conviction of many people," stated Adam Chavarria, executive director of the White House Initiative. "This Feria Educativa brings together students, parents, educators, administrators, and community and business leaders as important stakeholders in ensuring that Hispanic American children achieve their fullest potential through academic excellence."

Partnership participants have committed to hosting a total of seven programs over the next several months. Each will involve a series of events including town hall meetings, a seminar on student financial aid and scholarships, and educational workshops for parents, students, educators and business and community leaders. Additional future pilot cities include Tucson, Ariz.; Albuquerque, N.M.; El Paso, Texas; Las Cruces, N.M.; and Detroit, Mich.

The Partners in Hispanic Education members include the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans; United States Department of Education; National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP); United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USHCC Foundation); MANA, A National Latina Organization; Girl Scouts of the USA; Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU); State Farm; United States Army; National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP); Hispanic College Fund (HCF); Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (CREO); National Society of Hispanic MBA's (NSHMBA); Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA); and the Cuban American National Council (CNC).


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