Education Guru Tries to Close Latino Education Gap

Courtney Williams's picture
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

There is no better time for a Latino to be representing the Department of Education, now that recently released data shows Latinos are lagging behind others when it comes to getting college degrees.

This gap will pose a formidable obstacle for Eduardo Ochoa, assistant secretary of education for the Department of Education. He is led by this lofty White House goal: 51 percent of Americans should hold a college degree by 2020. That will only happen if at least 5.5 million Latinos earn degrees in the next eight years, according to a report by Excelencia in Education.

“We were one of the best educated countries in the world when it came to college completion,” said Ochoa, a native of Buenos Aires. “We are not currently and we want to get back to that position.”

These lofty goals aren’t likely to be met, say education analysts, no matter how good the intention. They say the gap has not suddenly emerged. Instead it has grown for decades, a sign they say, that indicates that federal and state governments have not historically devoted enough resources to address the educational disparity.

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