Key Activities

President Obama set a goal that “by 2020 the U.S. will once again have the best educated, most competitive workforce in the world.” The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (Initiative) aims to increase educational opportunities, improve educational outcomes and support the postsecondary completion goal for the Hispanic community. President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have indicated that working together to put an outstanding education within reach of every child, regardless of zip code or origin, is central to America’s global competitiveness and success. The Initiative has established a framework that involves local, state and national leaders, public and private sector stakeholders, educators, families, and students in support of fostering educational excellence for the Latino community.

The Initiative will work to amplify the Administration’s cradle-to-career agenda through its bright spots and key activities in 2014:

August 27-28: National Policy Forum on Music and the Arts Emeryville, CA. The Initiative will hold a national policy forum on the benefits of music and the arts and the importance of increasing access for Hispanic students. The Initiative will convene researchers, practitioners, community and philanthropy leaders, and other stakeholders to scale what works, leverage research to highlight the STEM linkages and focus on capacity building particularly in emerging communities. Invitation only event.

June 20: Educational Excellence in Puerto Rico. The Initiative traveled to the island of Puerto Rico last month! This visit was an important milestone for the work of WHIEEH, given the population of the island is almost entirely Hispanic. Director Ceja visited the Instituto Nueva Escuela (New School Institute) to hear about their efforts to improve the academic and socio-emotional outcomes of Puerto Rican students through the training and certification of public school teachers. After speaking with teachers, parents, and stakeholders in a roundtable discussion, Director Ceja congratulated the Institute and highlighted the need for continued progress in the early learning space in Puerto Rico. The Initiative also met with the First Lady of Puerto Rico and senior education policy advisors to address the need for educational excellence and more opportunities for Latino youth. Director Ceja celebrated the success of students by addressing the graduating class of Kinesis Foundation’s Bright Stars Program, a college access initiative which has awarded over 300 scholarships to Puerto Rico’s top high school graduates who go on to attend the nation’s most competitive universities. She discussed college access, affordability and completion by sharing her own story with students and inspiring them to persevere when faced with adversity

June 19: Federal Interagency Working Groupon Educational Excellence for Hispanics Washington, D.C. TheFederal Interagency Working Group (FIWG) on Educational Excellence for Hispanics met to discuss the Initiative’s 25th Anniversary Blueprint and Agency Data collection efforts. Keynote speaker Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to President Barack Obama for Education provided the group with compelling information regarding the current state of education for Hispanics, including the fact that the Hispanic community is the largest and fastest growing minority population in the U.S., but continues to lag behind in educational attainment among other ethnic groups. The FIWG will develop and strengthen systematic approaches to help close the educational achievement gap for Hispanics. Learn more about the FIWG’s efforts.

June 9-10: Postsecondary Access and Completion for All: Latinas/os in America’s Future Symposium New York, NY.  The Postsecondary Education Subcommittee of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, led by subcommitteeco-chairs Lisette Nieves and Luis Fraga, and subcommittee member Sara Lundquist,  convened about 100 leading experts, education leaders, and practitioners for the Postsecondary Access and Completion for All: Latinas/os in America’s Future Symposiumat the Roosevelt House in New York, NY. During the symposium, stakeholders participated in discussions key priority higher ed areas: community college completion agenda, workforce development, and college/university rating systems.

June 9-10: 2014 Higher Education Symposium New York, NY. The Initiative will hold a national policy forum at Hunger College on the benefits of music and the arts and the importance of increasing access for Hispanic students. The Initiative will convene researchers, practitioners, community and philanthropy leaders, and other stakeholders to scale what works, leverage research to highlight the STEM linkages and focus on capacity building particularly in emerging communities. Invitation only event.

May and June: My Brother’s Keeper Roundtable Discussions Denver, CO and Austin, TX. In May and June, the Initiative hosted two roundtable discussions, in Denver, CO and Austin, TX where Secretary Duncan heard from young men who talked about their lives, their experiences in school – particularly those involving discipline, as well as the opportunities that have put them on the road to success. The discussions have been part of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative that works in partnership with foundations, businesses and others to build on approaches that help young men of color reach their full potential.

May 15 (Miami, FL); June 12 (Los Angeles, CA); July 1 (Denver, CO): Supporting Students of Color from Birth through College and Career. The Initiative is partnering with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and the Initiatives on American Indian and Alaska Native Education and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to produce a roundtable series “Supporting Students of Color from Birth through College and Career.” The Roundtable Series will: Underscore the importance of supporting the academic, social and emotional development of students of color as essential to enhancing and supporting our students, schools and communities; Disseminate promising and proven programs, principles and policies accelerating learning and development for students of color; Share positive and asset based narratives celebrating the strengths and contributions that students of color make to families, schools and communities; and Highlight individuals and organizations successfully supporting the educational excellence for students of color and identify resources and sources of support to inform the work. Invitation only event.

May 8-9: National Policy Forum on College Access Durham, NC. The Initiative will hold a national policy forum at Durham Technical Community College on college access for Hispanic students. The Initiative will convene researchers, practitioners, community and philanthropy leaders, and other stakeholders to explore ways to increase high school completion, college enrollment and postsecondary completion, highlighting bright spots and leveraging research to help make college more accessible and affordable for Hispanic students. The forum will also focus on capacity building particularly in emerging communities. Invitation only event.

May 2: College Access and Affordability Student and Parent Town Hall  San Antonio, TX.  The Initiative will hold a town hall discussion at Sam Houston High School that focuses on the Administration’s high school completion and college access efforts while highlighting the promise zone efforts underway in San Antonio. During the town hall, the Initiative will launch the first ever Graduate! Financial Aid Guide to Success (Guide). The Guide consolidates and outlines, in a culturally relevant way, college application and enrollment information, federal and other financial aid and public and private scholarship resources available to better support Hispanic, DACA and undocumented students in their efforts to enroll and afford a postsecondary education. Invitation only event.