By Alicia Criado, Policy Associate, Economic Policy Project, NCLR and
Jared Nordlund, Deputy Director, Field Campaigns Civic Engagement Department, NCLR
Every child deserves a quality education. But the substantial achievement gaps between Latino students and their White counterpoints illustrate a stark reality that exists for many children in this country. Growing up in impoverished areas often results in limited opportunities for students, which hinders their educational success. That’s why federal education programs such as Title I and Head Start are so important—they give children who have the odds stacked against them a better chance to succeed.
Many of NCLR’s Affiliates see firsthand the importance of these programs. We recently spoke with Edward Garza, Political Director at South Dade County’s Mexican American Council (MAC). MAC’s mission is to ensure that every child of a migrant farmworker who enters kindergarten will graduate high school and enter college. Edward explains how they have helped reduce the dropout rate for migrant children in South Dade from 85 percent in the 1980s to less than 1 percent today. The reason for such tremendous success is due in part to their partnership with the Miami-Dade County Public School’s Title 1 Migrant Education Program.
Watch the video below.
Cuts to Title 1 K–12 education funding for schools in low-income communities would mean that 1.2 million fewer low-income public school children throughout the nation will have access to critical reading and math help. For Latinos, particularly those in the communities MAC serves, the cuts will be especially problematic. With cuts of more than $54.5 million to Title 1 in Florida, approximately 95,183 fewer low-income children in Florida will receive reading and math help.
Cutting education programs is shortchanging students and our country. As Edward emphasized in the video, Latino children are a rapidly growing portion of our nation’s future workers and taxpayers. Lack of investment in today’s youth will directly impact this country’s future. A fair and responsible long-term budget plan should invest in education, not gut the very programs that are helping close achievement gaps in this country.
Our children need these programs to succeed, much like our country needs these children to succeed. We cannot afford to cut Title 1 funding.