Putting Education Reform To The Test


Why The U.S. Is Focused On Educating Hispanic Students


Nationally, Hispanic students make up the largest minority population in public schools, according to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The Obama administration has placed a renewed focus on educating Hispanic students because they are the largest and fastest growing minority population in the country.

And in Florida, the Hispanic student population ranks 3rd highest in the nation according to 2009 data from the Pew Hispanic Research Center

Florida Stats

  • There are 692,000 Hispanic students enrolled in Florida’s K-12 schools.
  • Hispanic students make up 24% of the total K-12 student population in the state.
  • That ranks Florida as the state with the 7th highest percentage of Hispanic students.

A White House announcement released during the 2011 Hispanic Heritage Month states, “the Hispanic community’s ability to thrive is vital to the future of our nation and is critical to our out-educating, out-innovating, and out-building the rest of the world.

Florida is on Track

Florida’s Hispanic students have outperformed their counterparts across the U.S. on the national science exams, according to January 2011 data from the U.S. Department of Education.

The National Assessment of Education Progress, which is known as the “nation’s report card,” also shows that Hispanic students in Florida have come closer to matching the achievement of non-Hispanic white students on math and reading tests than their counterparts in most of the country.”

That includes states with the largest Hispanic populations: California, Illinois, New York and Texas.

State DREAM Act

Florida is one of the only states (besides Arizona) which known as an immigration “receiver state” that has not passed a state DREAM Act.

  • The federal DREAM Act is a piece of proposed legislation that would provide a path to citizenship to some undocumented students.
  • A state DREAM Act would allow undocumented students in Florida to pay in-state tuition to attend Florida colleges. Currently undocumented college students, and U.S. born students with undocumented parents pay the out-of-state rate, which is up to three times higher than the in-state rate.

In the 2012 Legislative Session, bills HB 441 and SB 1018 would allow U.S. born Florida residents who attended a Florida high school to pay in-state college tuition even if they have undocumented parents. This bill has been voted down in the past.

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