Eugene E. Garcia, the vice president for university-school partnerships at Arizona State University’s college of education, has set up a national task force to focus on the educational issues facing young Hispanic children.
The 20-member National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics is a diverse group that includes former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley; Patrick McCrory, the mayor of Charlotte, N.C.; and Sonia Green, the director of Hispanic marketing for the General Motors Corp.
A technical-advisory committee, made up of education and public-policy experts, has also been formed to offer support and scientific advice to the task force.
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a task force member, said in a press release that one of the group’s goals is to help low-income parents and those who speak limited English locate preschool programs for their children.
The task force, which will work for an initial period of two years, will also research effective strategies for improving the educational outcomes for Hispanic youngsters from birth through 3rd grade, draft recommendations for policymakers and teachers, and prepare a comprehensive report.
“Despite substantial evidence of improvement in academics for many groups, there are still troubling gaps in the educational achievement of Hispanics,” said Mr. Garcia, an expert on linguistics and culturally diverse populations.
The task force is being supported by grants from the Foundation for Child Development, located in New York City, and the A.L. Mailman Family Foundation in White Plains, N.Y.
Ruby Takanishi, the president of the Foundation for Child Development, said the formation of the task force “represents a commitment to include all newcomer and longtime resident Latino children in America’s promise of equal educational opportunity and a chance for a good life.”
Other members of the task force include Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Kay Barnes, the mayor of Kansas City, Mo.
A version of this article appeared in the January 12, 2005 edition of Education Week