Texas Has a Strong Need to Re-Focus Education to the Needs of Latinos


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Nationally, Latinos are the largest ethnic/racial minority group and they are growing in numbers. They are expected to grow from 1 in 6 people today to 1 in 4 by 2035 and 1 in 3 by 2060. According to recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos represent 40% of the state of Texas’ population and 52% of the state’s public school student population.

“[It] is clear that the future of Texas will be increasingly tied to its minority populations, particularly its Hispanic population,” said former state demographer Steve Murdock, who is now the director of the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University. “As a result, how well our current minority populations do will be increasingly how well we all do.”

In Texas, the education of Latinos is taking on a greater sense of urgency. Murdock has repeatedly stressed this in numerous interviews and presentations. In addition to the large representation in public schools, Latinos represent the majority (56%) of all students in early childhood education.

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“An investment in pre-K is a better investment than the stock market — a better bang for the buck,” said Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Paredes Scribner in an interview with the Dallas Morning-News. “Student outcomes will not change until adult behaviors change.”

Numerous cities across the state have begun to shift toward serving the needs of their growing Latino populations. According to Dr. Paige Ware, the interim dean of Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Simmons School of Education, investing in quality early childhood education, especially for underserved Latino children, has time and again resulted in strengthening communities and in providing more children with a strong early start in school. In particular, Ware cites the city of Dallas’ sustainable partnerships, including Bachman Lake Together and Educational First Steps.

“Each, to my mind, demonstrates a commitment to this fundamental value of believing in the potential of our youngest students,” said Ware.

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