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Reaching 90% Grad Rate Unlikely Without an Acute Focus on Low-Income, Minority Kids, Report Finds

The 71 Million – Mark Keierleber

“As the national high school graduation rate continues to rise — it hit a record 83.2 percent last year — the leaders of a campaign to raise that number to 90 percent by 2020 said Wednesday they fear the country will not meet that goal. Hitting that ambitious target would require a far more intense focus on minority and low-income students, who continue to lag behind. “We’ve got to be real about what the barriers are to success for students,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO of the America’s Promise Alliance.”(more)

Lighting the way for STEM students

The Ventura County Star – Ramon Flores

“I found the biggest issue for young Latina/o students is understanding how to go about getting a college education. With parents who have no knowledge of the labyrinthine world of college and financial aid applications, students with my background struggle to understand how to get into college step-by-step. My inspiration and support came from my parents. Even though my father attended school for only one day before declaring he didn’t like it, he went on to teach himself to read, write and do math. My mother, who worked full-time, would spend her evenings at my high school in Sun Valley learning English. She was a strict taskmaster, making sure I not only got high marks, but the very best possible grades. Their examples gave me the drive to excel. I want to share that passion to succeed in STEM with other young people — especially Latina/os.”(more)

Latino kindergartners start school 3 months behind in math, on average

Education Dive – Tara Garcia Mathewson

“Latino children currently make up 1 in 4 kindergartners nationwide. By 2050, they are expected to be 1 in 3. Latinos are the fastest-growing school-aged population among all races and ethnicities. That’s one reason why the Child Trends’ Hispanic Institute’s latest report on early math skills is particularly troubling. On average, Latino students show up to kindergarten three months behind their white peers, in terms of their math skills. While they make as much progress throughout the year as the average white student, the achievement gap remains because they started behind.”(more)

Why Building a Diverse Workforce Requires Computer Science Mandates in Schools

Ed Surge – Sabina Bharwani

“In the Silicon Valley, they call it the “3 percent problem.” African-Americans and Latino/Hispanics make up a tiny fraction of the overwhelmingly white, male-dominated workforce of major technology companies. No leader of the top 10 U.S.-based technology companies is African-American or Latino/Hispanic, and only one is a woman—Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM. The influence of technology in our daily lives is ubiquitous and dictated by a privileged and powerful few. Shifts in technology directly impact our socioeconomic structures—and how individuals contribute to society and make a living. According to the 2016 World Economic Forum (WEF)’s The Future of Jobsreport, the “fourth industrial revolution,” described as the confluence of emerging technology breakthroughs (such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, and 3D printing) are utterly transforming everything we experience and understand.”(more)

Why it’s important to talk about successful black and Latino boys

The Los Angeles Times – Sonali Kohli

“Uzoegwu attributes his upbringing with his success as a student. He has a GPA above 4.0, is taking six Advanced Placement classes and wants to attend Stanford University. He was one of 201 L.A. County students interviewed for a new UCLA report on the experiences of successful black and Latino teenage boys in Los Angeles. The researchers asked faculty at six high schools to identify boys in grades 10 through 12 who either excelled academically, held leadership roles in extracurricular activities or showed resilience in their home lives. They interviewed those boys and asked them how they defined success, and what they felt had contributed to theirs. Black and Latino students in California have lower test scores and higher rates of suspension than their white and Asian peers. Studies show that teachers treat black students more harshly than white ones as early as preschool, and some have lower academic expectations for black students.”(more)

Can a child who starts kindergarten with few reading or math skills catch up?

The Los Angeles Times – Teresa Watanabe

“Giuliana is not atypical of Latino children, who have the lowest rates of preschool attendance among all racial and ethnic groups. A 2015 UC Berkeley study of 4,550 children nationwide found that although Latino children showed roughly the same level of language comprehension as their white peers at 9 months old, four-fifths had fallen up to 5 months behind by the time they were 2. The study found that only 28% of the Mexican American mothers who spoke English at home, as Giuliana’s mother does, read to their children daily, compared with 59% of white mothers. No preschool. No daily stories read out loud. Could Giuliana catch up?.”(more)