NCSHP 15th Anniversary
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Forum on “The State of Latino Education in North Carolina – Successes and Challenges”
Presented by: North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals
After 15 years of serving the Latino student population with the sole mission of “promoting education among Hispanic youth”, North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals (NCSHP) held the first-ever forum on “The State of Latino Education in North Carolina: Successes and Challenges” on Thursday, May 22, 2014, at the NC Museum of History in Downtown Raleigh. NCSHP invited North Carolina leaders in our public education system and higher education systems. Panelists included State Superintendent June Atkinson, NC Department of Public Instruction; President Scott Ralls, North Carolina Community College System; President Tom Ross, The University of North Carolina System; and President A. Hope Williams, NC Independent Colleges and Universities. The panel discussion was moderated by Mr. David Crabtree, Anchor, WRAL News and Ms. Yasmin W. Metivier, Panoltia, Inc. The event attracted over 150 people and generated media coverage from Fox 50’s HOLA NC, Que Pása newspaper and La Conexión newspaper.
The purpose of the Forum was to ask our participating leaders in education to evaluate the challenges and success their respective educational sectors have experienced around Latino education and give the public a chance to ask them how they plan to address the growing Hispanic student population in the future.
The forum began with a brief introduction by Marco A. Zárate, NCSHP President and Co-Founder, highlighting the fact that increasing postsecondary education to all, including Hispanics/Latinos, is vital for the economic future of North Carolina. Mr. Zárate added that education is the backbone of our economy, and taking into account the changes in demographics in our state, is imperative to ensure that Latino students are successful academically and earn the required credentials to furnish the skilled workforce that North Carolina will need to prosper in our global economy.
Panelists were given eight minutes to give their own introductions to provide attendees a general aspect of their respective educational sectors and institutions before answering questions. Panelists addressed the following topics as part of their opening remarks: statistics on Latino student population and enrollment, enrollment policy, retention of Latino students, degree attainment, and overall successes and challenges around Latino education, including the remarkable increase in high school graduation rate among Latino students, the excellent retention rate of Latino students in our community colleges, and the financial challenges/obstacles faced by Latino students to go to college.
The questions presented to the panelists were collected by the North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals from the general public. Questions were solicited via email and with the support of the local media, including Fox 50, Que Pása, La Conexión, La Noticia, and Univision 40. They were then narrowed down by category and strategically selected by a committee to best represent all issues and topics expressed as desired by the public through their questions and comments.
Panelists answered questions addressing the following topics: Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students, recruiting and retaining of students, programs in place for Latino students, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), access to higher education for undocumented students, in-state tuition, community colleges registration, financial aid and scholarships, teacher development and parental involvement.
Based on feedback from the participants, NCSHP considers the Forum to have been a success, as our leaders in education came together to discuss and acknowledge the importance of educating the growing population of Latino students in North Carolina. NCSHP hopes to keep the conversation going to gain momentum in ensuring that all Latino students achieve academic success, a high school diploma and access to higher education.