WASHINGTON, DC – For the first time ever, white students are not the majority in U.S. public schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, minority students, when added together, are projected to make up the majority this school year, a shift largely fueled by growth in the number of Hispanic children. The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), the nation’s leading organization for 16 million Hispanic American Evangelical Christians, is leading this focus as it rolls out new resources and programs in time for back to school and National Hispanic Education Sunday on September 7, 2014. The NHCLC’s “Raising the Standards” education initiative was introduced today with a press conference and pastors’ luncheon in Washington, DC, with support from special guest Governor Mike Huckabee.
The NHCLC, which values Education as one of its core directives, advocates for Hispanic student success including educational equity and consistently high academic standards. Today’s gathering highlighted the NHCLC’s commitment to empower, equip and mobilize Hispanic congregations to support Hispanic student success. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, special guest at the event, expressed solidarity with the NHCLC as he spoke to pastors: “The Bible teaches us that we are all children of God and equal in his sight, and as Americans, we are united in the principle that every person deserves an equal opportunity. Yet because of a persistent disparity, too many children – particularly in economically disadvantaged communities – are graduating without the requisite skills needed to succeed. I agree with NHCLC’s leadership and their 40,000 Hispanic evangelical congregations that as Christians we have a responsibility to set our expectations high for children and educators, and to insist that policymakers do the same.”
Dr. Carlos Campo, who leads the NHCLC’s education directive, adds: “Hispanic churches place a high value on education, and we’re encouraged that Latino high school graduation rates are on the rise. Yet too often a high school diploma does not adequately prepare the graduate for college or a career. The NHCLC’s goal is to unite the 16 million American Hispanic Evangelical Christians in support of public education that equips all students with the skills they need to succeed.”
The NHCLC has launched a new website, http://www.FaithandEducation.com, where pastors and parents can access resources for National Hispanic Education Sunday (Sept. 7, 2014) and other education programs, including:
- Parent Toolkit: parents can plan for a successful school year with tips for student success, parent-teacher conference guides, suggestions for homework help, help discovering local afterschool care, and links to educational standards by grade level
- Education Sunday resources: information and ideas for September 7, 2014, include a sample sermon, suggestions for implementing programs such as “Becas and Bibles,” “Praying Over Report Cards,” and an invitation for volunteers to become local Education Liaisons
- Raising the Standards videos: available in English and Spanish, several videos are offered to promote Education Sunday, encourage greater education advocacy, and to support for consistently high educational standards
- Education Partnerships: details are provided for various educational partnerships the NHCLC has forged with Christian colleges and universities, an annual Education Summit and scholarship opportunities.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, founder and president of the NHCLC as well as a former educator, invites Hispanic pastors and families to raise their expectations for Hispanic students during this back to school season. “God created and values each child, and valuable children should be well-educated children. We must expect high achievement from students and we must equip parents to assist children with their education, because this next generation of Hispanic students is poised to change the world.”
NHCLC/Conela is the largest Hispanic Christian organization serving millions of Evangelicals, 40,118 U.S. churches, and more than 500,000 churches across the globe. Seeking to reconcile evangelist Billy Graham’s message of salvation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march of prophetic activism, the NHCLC/Conela emphasizes “7 Directives” of Life, Family, Compassionate Evangelism, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth. For additional information, visit http://www.nhclc.org.