LULAC Decries Lack of Hispanic Representation in ESEA Conference Committee

November 19, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. issued the following statement in response to the lack of Latino representation in the ESEA conference committee:

"LULAC is disappointed that not a single member from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus was appointed as a conferee for the critical negotiations between the House and Senate on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).

"Latino students make up 36 percent of the population in our K-12 public schools. Furthermore, Latinos represent the fastest-growing and largest minority in this country. Thus, the lack of representation of Latinos as part of the conference committee denies that demographic a voice in the process and is completely unacceptable.

"LULAC continues to have serious concerns with both the Senate and House versions of the ESEA reauthorization bills. We were hopeful that the conference committee process would serve as an opportunity to address provisions lacking in the present bills, including issues of accountability, resource equity, data, and government oversight.

"In addition, we had hoped that language prohibiting discrimination against Latino preschoolers would be included in the final bill. Currently, certain Latino immigrant preschoolers in some states are barred from participating in preschool programs because of their immigration status. This practice is unacceptable.

"We are now very concerned that without a strong voice from our community in the conference committee, the opportunity to address these issues may be lost.

"We encourage our members to contact the conferees and make our concerns known. An ESEA reauthorization bill out of conference that does not address these critical issues would be a great disservice to Latino students and a major civil rights setback."

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org, www.LULAC.org/facebook, and www.LULAC.org/twitter.

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