The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Executive Director Alejandra Ceja will participate in a panel discussion on the need to increase access to STEM courses for Hispanic students on Thursday, Sept. 18, in Washington, D.C. She will discuss some of the barriers that prevent young Hispanic students from taking science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes early on, the commitment that the Obama Administration has made to improving educational outcomes for Hispanic students and the opportunities that lie ahead to further the Administration and Initiative’s work.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights’ Civil Rights Data Collection indicates that nationwide, only 50 percent of high schools offer calculus and a quarter of high schools with the highest percentage of Latino and African American students do not offer Algebra II. A third of these schools do not offer chemistry. The future landscape of America’s workforce needs are changing, Ceja says, and in order to attract and prepare more young Hispanics, as well as future generations, for successful careers, including those in the STEM fields, schools must ensure that all students are given equitable opportunities and access to challenging and rigorous academic courses.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month—Sept. 15-Oct. 15—the Atlantic and the National Journal are hosting the event, which will bring together education and policy experts, as well as leaders in the Hispanic community. The event focuses on the social barriers to progress for Hispanics and the next steps toward making STEM careers fully accessible to them.