Education

We advocate for policies and programs that provide Latinos and English learners with high-quality education from early childhood through college, career and technical training, and beyond.

We advocate for the success of Latino students.

The Latino student population is the largest ethnic group in the U.S.—nearly doubling since 2000.

To ensure all students in our country have a real opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive, we need to remove barriers that create unequal challenges for Latino students—such as low income levels and access to college-readiness programs. By providing support and resources tailored to specific backgrounds and experiences, we can make education work better for everyone.

27% of the 50.6 million students enrolled in public schools are Latino. 5 million students are English learners—of which 77% are Latino.

Latino students have made progress over the past decade: the high school dropout rate for Latinos is at a record low, the college enrollment gap between Latino and non-Latino white students is narrowing, and more Latinos are earning a bachelor’s degree. Yet, more must be done to ensure that Latinos of all racial backgrounds, linguistic abilities, and gender identities have an opportunity for social and economic mobility.

Latino education statistics

Facts

27%

The percentage of the nation’s 50.6 million public schools students who are Latino.

33%

The rise in the number of English learners in the United States between the 2000–01 school year and the 2017–18 school year.

35%

The amount of LGBTQ Latinx students who are more likely to miss school due to feeling unsafe.

21%

The percentage of the country’s 16.6 million students enrolled in undergraduate programs who are Latino.

70%

The percentage of Latino college students who are the first in their family to attend college.

Stay up to date on what is happening in the Latino community and how UnidosUS is working to improve educational opportunity for all students.

Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States. It’s in the nation’s best interest that young Latino children have access to high-quality early childhood education programs that are tailored to their needs and properly engage their families.

A elementary school teacher surrounded by two young students.

We call for investments to improve the educational achievement of Latino and English learner students and prepare them to succeed in college and beyond.

Higher education remains the foundation of economic mobility, providing access to employment and wealth building opportunities for Latinos. 

Latino students have made progress over the past decade: the high school dropout rate for Latinos is at a record low, the college enrollment gap between Latinos and non-Latino white students is narrowing, and more Latinos are earning a bachelor’s degree.

Our Padres Comprometidos programs have helped over 3,400 parents support their children’s academic success. This initiative helps parents:

  • Understand the United States public school system.
  • Develop goals for their children to ensure they attend college.
  • Understand the academic requirements for college readiness.
  • Model behaviors at home that encourage and promote learning.

A Path Forward for Latinos: A Look at UnidosUS Higher Education Agenda

Education experts Roxanne Garza and Amanda Martinez provide an overview of our agenda for student success in higher education.

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Explore our core programs

Programs

UnidosUS’s education programs focus on the student educational experience from early childhood to college and beyond; parent and community engagement; and leadership development fellowships for college students and school leaders.

Padres Comprometidos

Since 2009, we have trained more than 200 facilitators and helped over 3,400 parents support their children’s academic success by giving them the skills to effectively engage with schools and play a leading role in their child’s education. The program meets parents where they are, using families’ language and culture as assets upon which skills, confidence, and empowerment are built.

STEM

Nearly one in five American workers are Latino, but fewer than one in 10 Americans employed in the STEM workforce are Latino. We provide hands-on STEM opportunities to Latino youth in a way that is relevant to their needs and background and engage Latino families in STEM discovery.

Developing young Latino leaders

UnidosUS’s leadership development programs empowers students to recognize their personal worth, strengthen their leadership abilities, and develop their capacity to promote and lead change in the Latino community and beyond.

CASA Code

CASA Code provides middle school students with hands-on computer science and coding experience in Spanish. It also includes parents in the process of learning about academic and career trajectories in computer science and encourages students to apply what they learn to the challenges they see in their surroundings, develop their leadership skills and foster a culture of service to the community.

Educación COMPLETA

Educación COMPLETA goes beyond academics to meet all of a student’s needs so they can thrive. At its core, a whole-student approach aims to recognize and support all aspects of a student’s life that impact their well-being and learning success.

In 2020, generously funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, UnidosUS began its research on Educación COMPLETA practices. Working with both UnidosUS Affiliates and partners, the goal is to develop the core qualities and a tool kit for whole-student learning that leverages the cultural and linguistic strengths of Latinx children and their families and addresses the key challenges they face in navigating the school system. The core qualities and accompanying tool kit will be piloted and shared within the UnidosUS Affiliate Network and with external partners through peer exchanges, webinars, and public-facing communications activities.

National Institute for Latino School Leaders

The National Institute for Latino School Leaders, NILSL, bridges a gap in the policy arena by infusing the voice of school leaders working with and on behalf of Latino students.

Explore our work in education

Featured Resources
Crucial Conversations: Discussing Early Dual Language Development with Speech/Language Therapists

We found that speech therapists were advising Latina moms not to speak Spanish to their children so as not to “confuse” them. This topic brief reviews our focus group findings and presents key research evidence, compiled over decades, that contradicts this advice. Recommendations for programs, parents and family members and policy makers are included.

December 23, 2022

Civil Rightsdisabilities servicesDual Language DevelopmentEarly Childhoodand 5 more tags

National Parents Survey

UnidosUS in collaboration with Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors and BSP Research, released survey results from 1,300 Latino families on the health and well-being of their youngest children.

December 1, 2022

BilingualEducationHealth and Well-beingLatino Infants Initiativeand 3 more tags

UnidosUS led a sign-on letter to Congress requesting no less than $1 billion for Title III in FY23 federal appropriations to support the unique educational needs of English learners.

October 27, 2022

EducationELsEnglish LearnersTitle III

Bebés Latinos: Un Imperativo Continuo

Los bebés latinos están transformando los Estados Unidos. Los hispanos son una de las poblaciones de más rápido crecimiento en el país, con un aumento sorprendente de 23% desde 2010. […]

August 11, 2022

ACEsalfabetización tempranabebés/niños pequeñosCOVID-19and 6 more tags

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