June 23, 2000
New York, NY --Speaking via satellite to the White House Strategy Session on Improving Hispanic Student Achievement, Vice President Gore announced new grant awards and innovative outreach strategies geared toward increasing the achievement of Hispanic students at all levels of education-from preschool through college. The Vice President also announced package of outreach and technical assistance efforts by federal agencies and national non-profit groups to improve the quality of education in the Hispanic community.
"We can never be satisfied with a Hispanic drop-out rate that hovers around 30 percent. We have to do better," Vice President Gore said. "That is why our administration is launching a new effort to get Hispanic families more information about the importance of early childhood education to our children's future_and to help them find the right programs in their own communities."
The Hispanic Education Action Plan (HEAP) grants awarded will strengthen Hispanic Serving Institutions (HIS) by supporting faculty development, academic programs and student services. Specifically:
The National PTA will partner with the Hispanic Radio Network, which has 100 affiliate stations in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Latin America, to produce a series of one-minute radio programs that will highlight the positive affects of parental participation on student academic achievement.
Additionally, the grant offers ideas to parents on how to promote safe, effective, community oriented schools and identify resources targeted toward Spanish speaking parents.
The Department of Education (DoED) will launch an expansive outreach effort to provide more high quality services to very young Hispanic children through Title I pre-school programs. In addition, the Department will write to all school districts to encourage them to use Title I funds for preschool, reach out to Hispanic families, and explain the flexibility in title I schoolwide programs in selecting participants and in improving services to Hispanic children and their parents.
The Department of Education will also award $25.8 million for 76 new development grants, ranging in value from $375,000-$425,000 over five years, to enable eligible Hispanic Serving Institutions of Higher Education to expand their capacity to serve Hispanic students and other low-income individuals.
The HSI's may use the funds for faculty development, administrative management, and improvement of academic programs, facilities and student services.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will partner with DoED, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans to direct Hispanic Families to Head Start programs and early childhood development programs. The partnership will facilitate the dissemination of early childhood information (i.e. early brain development research, parenting tips, how to choose a child care center, and what Head Start has to offer) through HUD's Neighborhood Networks program.
In closing his remarks, Vice President Gore stressed the importance of closing the education gap in this generation.