ABC13 hosts town hall on educational inequality for Hispanic students

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- While students deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fall semester, minority students started the new school year already at a disadvantage.

Statistics are clear there are disparities in testing, performance and access to resources between white and minority students. On average, Latino students are roughly two to three years of learning behind white students of the same age, according to researchers at McKinsey & Company.

ABC13, Houston's news leader, brought together education leaders for a town hall Tuesday night, exploring the consequences of the academic achievement gap for students of color in southeast Texas.

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"One of the most overarching systems that continues the systemic racism is the system of low expectations for Latino children," said Juliet Stipeche.



Eyewitness News anchor Elissa Rivas and her panel answered your questions about the inequalities faced by Hispanic students, and how together we can close the gap.

Panelists for the town hall included:
  • Andy Canales, Latinos for Education executive director, Greater Houston
  • Dr. Catherine Horn, University of Houston Education Research Center director
  • Elizabeth Alba Santos, Houston ISD Board of Trustees, District 1
  • Juliet Stipeche, Houston Mayor's Office director of education
  • Margaret Rodriguez, AAMA's George I. Sanchez Charter School superintendent
  • Maritza Guerrero, Community Family Centers CEO


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Elizabeth Alba Santos discusses the massive digital divide in Houston-area schools and believes a device can't replace an in-person teacher.



Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows 43 percent of Latinos are "below basic" on math and reading scores, compared to only 17 percent of white students. The NAEP results show this gap exists in every state, and becomes more evident in most large urban school districts.

Despite the best efforts of teachers, administrators and parents, only 11 percent of Latino students will graduate college-ready, according to Latinos for Education.

While the effects of the achievement gap are felt heavily in minority communities by way of lower earnings, poorer health and higher rates of incarceration, it hurts all of us financially. By addressing the inequalities experienced by Black and Hispanic students, researchers estimate the GDP of the United States in 2008 would have been between $310-$525 billion higher.
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