Contact: Don Sevener, 217.557.7334
October 2, 2006
LATINO LEADERS TO HIGHLIGHT EDUCATIONAL GAPS AND OPPORTUNITIES
SPRINGFIELD – Latinos comprise the fastest-growing segment of the Illinois population. But, despite some notable progress, gaps persist in bringing Latino students into the full educational mainstream in Illinois.
That message will be the focus of presentations by two prominent Latino academic leaders when the Illinois Board of Higher Education convenes at the University Center of Lake County on October 9. Lake County, like other suburban areas, has experienced significant Latino population growth in recent years.
Sylvia Puente, director of the Metropolitan Chicago Initiative in the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and Dr. Jorge Chapa, director of the Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will address the Board on the needs, challenges, and opportunities in serving the Latino population.
The Latino population has grown dramatically since 1990, increasing by nearly 60 percent nationally. Latinos now make up 14 percent of the Illinois population, up from about 8 percent in 1990; in the Chicago metropolitan area, more than one in five persons is Latino.
The swift rise in population has brought new challenges to the education system, at all levels. Although trend data show some progress on state and national achievement tests as well as success in college, Latinos – like African Americans – continue to lag behind white students in measures of academic performance throughout the K-12 system and into higher education. In addition, as they climb the educational ladder, their numbers dwindle. In 2005, Latinos comprised 12 percent of public high school graduates, 10.3 percent of community college enrollments, 8.7 percent of undergraduates at four-year colleges and universities, and 4.2 percent of enrollments in graduate studies. The same pattern is true in degrees granted – in 2005, Latinos received 9.7 of community college certificates, 6.9 percent of associate’s degrees, 6.2 percent of bachelor’s
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