Leaders look to close Latino education gap

Only 17 percent of Latinos in Arizona have an associate degree or higher, according to research conducted by the Morrison Institute.

Hispanic leaders met Tuesday to discuss how the state’s education funding plan will impact students and what they could do to help close the gap.

“It is the Latinos demographic that we need to focus on because of the educational gap between that population and the other population so I think this is a good beginning,” said State Senator Catherine Miranda, (D-District 27). She added that she thought this was a good start but there was a lot still that needs to be done.

Joseph Garcia, the director of Morrison Institute, said change needs to start at home.

“We need to change expectation in the living room but also in the classroom,” he said. “Teachers need to expect more from students, institutionally we need to expect Latinos to graduate.”

Officials shared statistics and data from studies, but the overall message was that closing this gap is for more than just the Latino communities.

“Latinos need to be a part of the successful future that’s going to help your kids also succeed,” Garcia said.

He emphasized that this isn’t a matter of competition. “It isn’t Latinos versus whites or anyone else it’s that were all in this together,” Garcia said.

According to the DATOS report, published by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the majority of students K-12 will be Hispanic by 2020.