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Idaho's Hispanic Education Gap Shrinks

Northwest News Network | Jan. 18, 2013 4:36 p.m.

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Idaho is starting to see the education gap narrow for Latino students. That’s according to the state’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs. Latinos are the fastest growing segment of Idaho’s school system.

The commission’s director Margie Gonzalez told a legislative panel the days of double digit drop-out rates for Hispanic kids are gone. More Latinos are enrolling in college. And last month, a national assessment of vocabulary showed huge gains among Hispanic students in Idaho.

Gonzalez thinks efforts to get parents more involved in the classroom may be partially responsible. But she says Idaho still has a way’s to go. Gonzalez says many schools are not equipped for their changing demographics.

“We’re lacking the bilingual, bicultural teachers in our schools. And in some schools, we have up to 40 to 50 percent Hispanic students enrolled.”

Gonzalez says the effects of closing the achievement gap in Idaho will show up later in the economy, as Latinos make up a larger part of the workforce.

On the Web:

Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs

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