According to a report released by LatinxEd, Latine students and families across the state face significant equity gaps in educational outcomes, from kindergarten readiness to education beyond high school.
These findings come from a two-year-long listening tour that the group conducted that featured discussions with education leaders and Latine constituents.
The report from the Latine-focused education equity group highlights that the decades-long debate over lawmakers meeting their constitutional obligations of funding public education in the state has resulted in a growing number of unmet needs.
For Latine students and families, those unmet needs are visible when accessing in-language resources. Chronic underinvestment in the bicultural and bilingual workforce in education, cultural isolation and mental health challenges, severe lack of educator diversity in schools, and limited opportunities and advising support for postsecondary education are all factors that are impacting Latine students, according to the report.
“As demographics have shifted and as our schools begin to change how they look and sound, resources and support for those communities in schools hasn’t kept up,” Ricky Hurtado, senior advisor at LatinxEd told WFAE. “When we talk about chronic disinvestment … we’re making sure that our schools and staff are bilingual and bicultural.”
According to EducationNC, over the last decade, North Carolina’s Latine population has grown by 25% in the state, now totaling more than 1 million residents. That growth is faster than the national average (18%) for that period, EducationNC further reported.
As the state’s Latine population grows, the need for equitable investments couldn’t be understated. The report lays out recommendations for how lawmakers can help the state tackle barriers facing Latine students and families; proposing investments towards teacher diversity, bilingual support and resources, addressing tuition equity for immigrant students, and funding Governor Cooper’s DRIVE Task Force, among others.
“I’m hoping it connects some of those radical thinkers and doers so that we can see more of those promising practices, best practices in many parts of the state,” stated Zamantha Granados, Community impact manager at LatinxEd. “Take this report and see what someone maybe in the county near you is already doing and ring them up and say, ‘hey, what would it take for me to try this here?’”