White House Official says Latino education is the “biggest civil rights issue” of our generation
White House officials said the country cannot have a strong economy without an educated Latino population during a roundtable discussion on Wednesday.
Calling the education of Latinos “arguably the biggest civil rights issue” of this generation, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz said education is “at the heart of” President Obama’s economic strategy.
Muñoz and Secretary of Eduction Arne Duncan said they are encouraged by the growing number of Latinos seeking higher education, but also worried about the country’s ability to compete on the global level.
The U.S. is ranked 16th globally in college completion, and a quarter of all high school students fail to graduate from high school on time. Obama has said he would like to be leading the world in college completion rates by 2020, but that would require the college completion rate to rise to 60 percent from 42 percent, a somewhat daunting prospect.
Duncan and Muñoz criticized Republicans in Congress for failing to work with Democrats on comprehensive education reform, and lambasted presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, for promoting a budget that would cut funding for Pell grants and reduce the number of slots in the federal student readiness program Head Start by 100,000.
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