How Will Our Education System Serve English Learners?

Sen. Patty Murray

Sen. Patty Murray

Efforts are underway in Congress to rewrite No Child Left Behind, hear about what this means for English Learners and Latino students this Thursday!

Join Senator Patty Murray (D–Wash.), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and NCLR Senior Vice President Delia Pompa for a call on reforming the nation’s education system.

This call is closed to the press.


Date: Thursday, June 4 2015
Time: 2:30 p.m. EST

Call-in number: (866) 952-1907
Conference ID: Reform
Program Title: Education Reform

#NCLR14 Kicks Off With a Day of Service

We kicked off our Annual Conference in Los Angeles with a day of community service to beautify Berendo Middle School together with Bank of America and our Affiliate, Youth Policy Institute. Below are highlights of the event!

New Survey Highlights Barriers to Access Health Care in Latino Communities


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Affordability, immigration status, and language are all barriers to health care for Latinos, despite an uptick in access to care in the community, according to a new results of a new survey from NCLR’s Institute for Hispanic Health. The study, “An Inside Look at Chronic Disease and Health Care Among Hispanics in the United States,” documents a high rate of chronic disease and obesity among Latinos surveyed, and shows that nearly half of those with a chronic disease reported their health as poor to fair. To make matters worse, 25 percent of those surveyed said they visited a hospital emergency room in the past year, a costly and short-term solution for those suffering from chronic illnesses. ER trips simply cannot serve as a substitute for access to regular medical care.

“Latinos are among the fastest-growing segment of the American population and will represent nearly one-third of all U.S. workers by 2050. The ability of our nation to meet the economic demands of the future is closely tied to the health of this community. Affordable health insurance and access to high-quality medical care and information is vital to improving their lives,” said Delia Pompa, Senior Vice President, Programs, NCLR.

Other key findings of the research include:

  • A high rate of chronic disease and poor health. Sixty percent of survey respondents were told by a doctor that they have a chronic disease, and comorbidities were highly prevalent.
  • Extreme rates of overweight/obesity, a key risk factor for chronic conditions. About 75 percent of survey respondents were either overweight or obese, but among them only about two-thirds (64.3 percent) had been told by a doctor that they were overweight. Three of the four major chronic diseases experienced by respondents—hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis-related conditions — are affected by weight.
  • A disconnect with the health care system. Barriers posed by poverty, discrimination and low rates of health insurance were compounded by additional factors that Latinos face: immigration status, a lack of trust in the health system and language/cultural issues. About one-third of respondents reported difficulty in getting health information in Spanish, the preferred language among 74 percent of those surveyed. In nearly all of the focus groups, participants perceived that the fear of unintended immigration consequences is a deterrent for health care access in their communities.

To combat this unfortunate trend, our report calls for the design and implementation of a large-scale, sustained public health initiative focused on linguistically and culturally appropriate obesity and chronic disease prevention and management. The report also stresses the need to expand efforts to further enroll Latinos in affordable health insurance.

“The research clearly underscores the need to expand programs such as NCLR’s promotores de salud, community health workers who are trusted sources of information and who provide culturally and linguistically appropriate education and support, said Manuela McDonough, Associate Director, Insitute of Hispanic Health. “Increased outreach through these types of programs is critical if we are to take on these real health challenges.”

The report was produced by NCLR with support from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and in partnership with public health consulting firm John Snow, Inc. (JSI). Written surveys and focus groups were held with patients at Latino-serving community-based health centers across the U.S. that belong to the NCLR Affiliate Network. Read the whole report below:

An Inside Look at Chronic Disease and Healthcare Among Hispanics in the United States

Parents Hold the Key to Success for Common Core State Standards

By Delia Pompa, Senior Vice President, Programs, NCLR
(Cross-posted from the Alliance for Excellence in Education High School Soup blog,) 

GraduationIt’s the time of year that millions of students look forward to: donning caps and gowns and walking in their high school graduation ceremonies, cheered on by friends and families. One of our community’s proudest accomplishments in the last decade is that so many more of these students are Latino. However, a diploma does not guarantee that they are ready for college or a career. That is why closing the educational gap between Latino students and their fellow classmates continues to be the top educational priority for the NCLR.

This ambitious goal is why we have been supporters of the Common Core State Standards since their inception. With the adoption of common standards in the vast majority of states, schools will finally be held accountable for how well they are teaching Latino students. This is no small feat. Historically, low standards and expectations for certain students have translated into massive achievement gaps. The era of neglecting and expecting less from some students should—and needs to—end.

Now that the standards have been adopted, we have to focus on making sure that these standards are implemented in the most effective way possible. States need to provide the resources and training necessary to make these standards work. However, having common standards does not mean that they’ll all be applied in the same ways. Each state has to make sure that the standards are implemented consistently with its particular needs. This will take the support of the same public-private coalition that proposed and developed college and career ready standards in the first place. One way this coalition can help is by ensuring that parents are part of the process. Experience and research tell us that parents can be the most effective factor in how a child learns. This is why, long before common standards, NCLR began an effort to educate and train parents to become stronger participants in their children’s schools and to play bigger roles in their children’s education overall.

It is vital that those of us who support college and career ready standards do a better job of informing all parents—not just Latinos—about what the standards are and, just as importantly, what they are not. In addition to clearing up misconceptions surrounding the standards, we want to thoughtfully address the concerns that parents may have.

We can meet this goal by encouraging parents to become more involved in the process. We need to give parents information about how to engage with their schools and policymakers about the implementation process. In our work, NCLR has created a tool kit to help Latino parents ask important questions about how the standards will affect their children’s schools. And for some parents, knowing how English language learners are being considered could lead them to becoming advocates for valuable and much-needed teacher development.

We believe in the Common Core State Standards. Making the standards a success for all students will take the same level of effort that brought these standards to life in the first place.

Educating First-Generation Americans

Delia Pompa photo

Delia Pompa, Senior Vice President, Programs, NCLR

National Journal’s Education Insiders blog features our very own Senior Vice President for Programs, Delia Pompa.

Each week, National Journal’s Fawn Johnson poses a question about the latest education news to the blog’s insiders. This week, Johnson asked about how we can adequately educate first-generation Americans, or “first-gens.”

Below is Johnson’s question, followed by Pompa’s response.

What is the difference between first-gens and other college students? Is the Hollywood version of a backpack toting 18-year-old campus freshman be an anachronism? What can elite colleges do to recruit nontraditional students, and how successful can they be at it? What can state and local governments do to support community colleges that educate the bulk of the first-gens? Is there a way to change the equation and make sure more of these first-gens are at elite schools, and maybe even more “traditional” students are at community colleges?

Delia Pompa:
Meeting the needs of first-generation Latino students in our colleges and universities must be a national priority. Among all racial and ethnic groups, Latinos represent the highest proportion of first-generation college students, yet they are less likely to earn degrees. Latinos in 2008–2009 accounted for only 12.4 percent of all associate’s degrees, 8 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, 6 percent of all master’s degrees, and 3.8 percent of all doctoral degrees. To correct these persistently poor outcomes, significantly greater dollars must be invested in programmatic interventions that positively impact the perseverance and retention of Latino students.

We know that first-generation Latino students are often less prepared for the academic, social, and financial requirements of college. Efforts that intentionally impact the academic and social development of students for a smooth college transition are key. The recipe for increasing the proportion of first-generation students who complete college includes: opportunities for accessing targeted tutoring services and advisement, participating in peer-led study networks, and engaging in sustained mentoring relationships to navigate a new culture and environment. Equally important is the need for campus environments to recognize the presence of a less traditional student body and take steps to meet that population’s distinctive academic and social needs. These efforts are most successful when they include the use of data to drive curricular improvements, enhance student supports, and increase cultural competence in relationships between students and their faculty and advisers. Finally, sufficient financial aid for first-generation Latino students is essential to ensuring that students aren’t forced to choose between focusing on their studies and focusing on employment to make ends meet.

Our nation’s future economy and social fabric depend on college completion for all first-generation students.

Go to National Journal’s site to read the rest of the responses from other education experts.