Governor Jeb Bush, Governor Mike Huckabee, Dr. Nicole Baker Fulgham, Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, Catholic Educators, encouraged by NHCLC support
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), regarded as the leading voice for the 16-million-strong Hispanic American Evangelical Christian community, today joins Christian and conservatives in their support of the Common Core State Standards. The NHCLC, called “America’s Largest Hispanic Christian Organization” by TIME magazine, is rallying its 40,000 member churches and Hispanic Evangelicals behind Common Core as a matter of biblical justice and equity. The organization is launching a national education initiative to educate members about the benefits of the Common Core State Standards for Hispanics and low-income students and to mobilize church leaders to support implementation of the standards in local schools.
The Common Core State Standards are a prioritized, clearly stated list of skills a student must master in each grade level in order to be on track to succeed at college level work. The standards, adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, are the logical next step in the nation’s efforts to improve public education for all students. The Common Core standards were found to be higher than existing standards in 37 states in English and 39 in math, as well as on par with the standards of top scoring international countries. With higher, more focused standards across states, expectations for math and literacy skills are equally high for all students regardless of zip code. (http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards)
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the NHCLC, notes that although the Hispanic population in the U.S. is expanding more quickly than any other ethnic group, children born to Hispanic mothers are the most likely to be raised in poverty. “For years many states have set expectations too low for all our students, but particularly those from low-income schools, where many Hispanic children are educated. Rigorous standards must be available to all children, especially those in poverty who need clear signals of what skills they need to succeed in college or a career,” Rodriguez explains. “Offering high educational standards to all students is an issue of biblical justice, because all children are made in the image of God as described in Genesis 1:27. Common Core offers schools the opportunity to positively impact the future of Hispanic children and all children who live in poverty.”
Hispanic high school students are graduating at a rate over 10 percent lower than their white peers.[i] Those who do graduate high school find their diploma an empty promise. As far too many students were told they were on track, only to fail in college level work. Fifty-eight percent of Hispanics who make it to college do not graduate.[ii] So, it should not be surprising that 72 percent of Hispanics are placed in remedial classes at community colleges, where over half of Hispanics access higher education.[iii]
“Hispanic adults are less educated than any other ethnic group and the numbers of jobs that need a college degree are only increasing. Without question, our children, especially minority and immigrant students, must participate in an educational system that equips them with the necessary acumen and skills to compete. In order to honor the image of God shared by all children, we are committed to empowering all students with the foundational tools for success by holding all children to high educational standards. This is why I wholeheartedly endorse and support the Common Core State Standards,” Rev. Rodriguez attests.
Numerous conservative and Christian leaders welcome the support of the NHCLC as they work together to achieve educational equality for all American students, including:
–Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush:
“The key to reigniting social mobility and maintaining American competitiveness lies in giving every child access to the best education on the planet. Unfortunately, right now, just 25 percent of American high school graduates are prepared to succeed in college or the workforce. One of the greatest mistakes we make in education is underestimating the capacity of our children to learn. Raising expectations in our schools is critical for ensuring every child has the opportunity to realize his or her full God-given potential. Thankfully, states across the nation are heeding this call to action and raising academic standards. I applaud Reverend Rodriguez and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference for their leadership in championing the state-driven Common Core initiative and their commitment to achieving a high quality education for all students.”
–Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee:
“The Common Core State Standards were initiated as Governors and state leaders were talking about what we could do together to raise standards–not a Washington solution, but a voluntary effort on the part of the leaders of the states . . . .the original intent was to empower states and local school board to make all decisions as to curriculum. Many states are now taking back ownership of the standards. No one wants federal control, federal curriculum content, or data collection of individual students, but having consistent standards is not something to be afraid of; indeed it is something to embrace.”