Jonathan Butcher

Education Savings Account Expansion Will Help Hispanic Students

Posted on March 14, 2012 | Author: Jonathan Butcher
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Every student in a failing school should have better options. In Arizona, the largest failing schools enroll a high concentration of Hispanic students— students that, nationally, are at a high risk of dropping out and have low college attendance rates. Among the 20 largest public schools that received a “D” on their state report card, 71 percent of the students are Hispanic.

HB 2626 expands Arizona’s education savings account program to students in failing schools (along with children in military families and academically gifted students). This measure will offer options to many parents, especially in Hispanic communities. 


School Name
Letter
Grade

Enrollment
Hispanic
Enrollment
Percent
Hispanic
Alhambra High School D 2,708 2,130 78.7%
San Luis High School D 2,502 2,497 99.8%
Desert View High School D 2,085 1,738 83.4%
Carl Hayden High School D 2,043 1,919 93.9%
Camelback High School D 1,937 1,476 76.2%
Cholla High Magnet School D 1,726 1,251 72.5%
Mohave High School D 1,476 563 38.1%
Amphitheater High School D 1,380 836 60.6%
Catalina High Magnet School D 1,326 687 51.8%
Santa Rita High School D 1,219 385 31.6%
Chinle High School D 1,127 3 0.3%
Frank Borman School D 1,119 985 88.0%
Pistor Middle School D 1,038 869 83.7%
Sierra Middle School D 1,013 927 91.5%
Heritage Elementary School D 988 330 33.4%
Bernard Black Elementary School D 951 522 54.9%
Mesa Junior High School D 829 757 91.3%
Harold W Smith School D 818 722 88.3%
Challenger Middle School D 802 602 75.1%
Total   27,087 19,199 70.9%

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core Data Set, available at http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/.

State Sen. Steve Gallardo was quoted in the Arizona Republic last week saying the savings account program is “not aimed toward Hispanic kids” and that “White Republicans” have done “nothing” to help “Hispanic kids go to college.” These data on Arizona’s failing schools coupled with the proposed expansion of education savings accounts to students in “D” schools suggest the opposite.

Christina Martinez, representing the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (HCREO) and the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, testified in support of HB 2626 last week. “We know that only about 50 percent of Latinos finish high school on time and only 13 percent of Latinos will go on to college,” she said. “We believe many of these instances are due to an educational environment that is not conducive to the needs of the student.”

“And because of this, we feel that if the system is failing, a student’s parents should have the option to enroll their child in a setting that is conducive. Furthermore, they should be able to use any and all resources available to them,” Martinez said.

Expanding education savings accounts to students in failing schools will help those students most in need of more options.

Learn more:

Arizona State Legislature: Arizona Senate Finance Committee video, March 8, 2012

Arizona Republic: Democratic lawmaker opposes use of cute Latino kids

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