US Hispanic civil rights and advocacy group says struggling Latino students should be priority


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Latino students should be a federal funding priority after falling behind during the coronavirus pandemic despite notable educational gains in recent decades, leaders of America’s largest Hispanic advocacy and civil rights group said Monday. .

“There is funding there,” said Amalia Chamorro, who oversees education policy at UnidosUS, formerly the National Council of La Raza. “We need to make sure it reaches the students who need it the most.”

An Associated Press analysis last year of state and US data found that the federal government had provided $190 billion in pandemic aid to schools, four times more than what the US Department of Education spends on K-12 schools in a typical year.

A new report on Latino student access released by UnidosUS at its current gathering in San Antonio indicates that students of color and low-income students have faced the most daunting challenges during the pandemic due to issues such as a lack of Internet access at home when classes were in progress. taught online.

The report comes as schools across the country struggle to recover from the pandemic.

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“We cannot allow hard-won educational gains to be undone, but we also know that the pre-pandemic status quo was not working as well as it should,” he says.

UnidosUS met in San Antonio, where it released a report saying students of color and low-income students faced the most challenges during the pandemic, such as lack of internet access in their homes and language barriers.

The report says Latino parents described their frustrations in focus groups hosted by UnidosUS last year as they said their children were distracted and hungry for social interaction.

He cited a 2021 survey that found more than 70% of Latino parents say their children have suffered from a learning challenge during the pandemic, and many worry about whether they can support them in their school difficulties.

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“We hit a speed bump and now we need to get back on track,” said Eric Rodriguez, UnidosUS vice president for policy and advocacy. “We are particularly worried about English learners.”

The transition to distance learning has been particularly difficult for English learners as the majority of them come from low-income families and tend to have parents with limited levels of education, according to the report. They are also more likely to be homeless and less likely to have access to high-speed internet.

The report says a survey of teachers by the Government Accountability Office found that teachers with more than 20% of students learning English in the 2020-21 school year found that children had difficulty difficulty understanding their lessons and even accessing school meals.

Despite the challenges, the report says Latino students in K-12 have made significant progress over the past three decades, with their proportion in U.S. schools tripling from 9% in 1984 to 28% today. today. The high school graduation rate for Latinos hit an all-time high of nearly 82% in 2019, despite inequality and barriers to success.

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“The course of the next two decades will be determined by the decisions we make today,” he concludes.

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