Cleveland to pitch high-tech studies to Latinos
CLEVELAND, Jan. 11, 2014 (AP): Cleveland schools have agreed to promote high-tech math, science and engineering programs to Spanish-speaking students.
The push will resolve federal concerns about the small number of Spanish-speaking students in STEM programs specializing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The district has almost 1,700 Latino high school students, but only 130 attend STEM schools, according to The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer (bit.ly/1ktidTd).
Cleveland schools have agreed to promote STEM programs to Spanish-speaking students and others with limited English skills as part of an agreement with the civil rights office of the U.S. Department of Education.
In the agreement announced this past week, the federal agency said it's important that the pipeline to STEM programs ``be open to all students.''
One issue that the agency highlighted is the lower number of STEM options in Cleveland neighborhoods where the Latino population is concentrated.
Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for the Office for Civil Rights, said her office investigated the district because of concerns about access to STEM programs.
``I'm really impressed with the district for what it has agreed to do going forward,'' Lhamon said.
Latino community leaders said efforts to raise awareness of educational opportunities for Latino students give those students a better chance at graduating and succeeding.
José Feliciano, chairman of the Hispanic Roundtable, said leaders have been concerned that schools like the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine have few Latino students.
But, he told the newspaper, ``I never had any sense that they were keeping kids out. They just weren't doing affirmative things to get kids in.''
Victor Ruiz, executive director of the Esperanza community organization, said he has been bothered by the lack of Latino students in STEM programs. But Ruiz said that he believes the district was already focused in recent years on improving opportunities for Latino students.
Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com