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New Nationwide Hispanic Education Initiative Launched.

PRINCETON, N.J. -- A new nationwide initiative to increase U.S. global competitiveness by attracting the country's growing Hispanic population into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, will be the topic of a three-day conference at ETS Nov. 20 - 22, 2005.

The conference, "Latino Achievement in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics," is sponsored by three of the nation's leading education and research organizations - ETS, the College Board, and the Hispanic Research Center (HRC) at Arizona State University. The three have worked together for a quarter of a century on initiatives and projects aimed at improving educational opportunities for Hispanic students.

"The future of the United States' global competitiveness depends on having a properly educated and trained workforce," says Kurt Landgraf, President and CEO of ETS. "To ensure this happens, we must dramatically increase the educational levels of all Americans, and particularly Hispanics, especially in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers."

"The development of human capital is essential to the continued welfare of the nation, and this requires even greater efforts to ensure that all Latino students have full opportunities to gain access to a quality education that includes rigorous training in reading, writing, math and science," said College Board President Gaston Caperton. "This is not only morally right, but it is also an economic imperative."

"Increasing Latina/o participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is one of the highest national priorities," says Gary Keller, Regents Professor and Director of the Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University. "Latinos are now the largest minority population in the United States and will become even larger in the coming decades. Already, numerous major school districts are more than 50 percent Latino. Study after study documents the need to do a better job in educating Latinos for the workforce at every level. Recent projections suggest that the median annual income of the American workforce will decline if the level of education of American citizens, including Latinos, is not improved. The challenge is to find the right solutions to this issue."

"The collaboration of the College Board, the Educational Testing Service, and the Hispanic Research Center, which has had an unusually tenure of 25 years, has made a huge contribution to the education of Latinos in STEM," Keller adds, "and the forthcoming conference will highlight these accomplishments, which I believe have genuine potential for replication and expansion at the national level."

The purpose of the conference is to build on effective practice and research to identify and advocate for national, state, institutional and program policies and best practices that will:

--improve the preparation for college and college access

--enhance the achievement, retention, and persistence of college students

--improve student preparation for graduate and professional school STEM programs

--increase the number of STEM tenure-track and newly tenured faculty at participating institutions

"This is an exciting time to be working on new ideas for increasing Latino participation in higher education and specifically STEM fields," says Michael Nettles, Vice President and Edmond W. Gordon Chair, Policy Evaluation and Research Center at ETS. "We have witnessed an enormous growth in the U.S. Latino population. Latinos' are now recognized as the largest minority group by current U.S. Census Bureau data. In addition, we have witnessed a growth in achievement gains among Latino youth. Efforts to increase Latino achievement in STEM fields are vital to the future of our nation."

Three noted educational leaders will also be recognized for their ongoing commitment to increasing the number of Latino students in the STEM disciplines. William Bowen, President, Mellon Foundation, will receive the George H. Hanford Award; Richard Tapia, Professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics, Rice University, will receive the Gary D. Keller Award; and, Allan Cameron and Faridodin Lajvardi, of Carl Hayden High School, will receive the Gregory R. Anrig Award. Each recipient also received $10,000 to fund continuation of his work.

Some of the nation's top Hispanic educational researchers and policymakers will present papers on topics that have been commissioned by their sponsors. Each presentation will be followed by reactions from education experts.

Conference proceedings will be available through the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, which is available through Sage Publications at www.jhh.sagepub.com, and www.sagepub.com.

Further information on the three sponsors can be found at:

www.ets.org

www.collegeboard.com

www.asu.edu/clas/hrc/
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 16, 2005
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