The heads of the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College and Cal State Long Beach joined President Barack Obama this week at a White House signing ceremony where the president approved an executive order renewing the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.
Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser, LBCC President Eloy Ortiz Oakley and CSULB President F. King Alexander accepted the White House’s invitation to see the signing.
More than one in five students in the United States is Hispanic, and Hispanic students are more likely to attend low performing schools, Obama said at the ceremony.
“This is not just a Latino problem. This is an American problem, and we have to solve it,” Obama said.
The three educational leaders from Long Beach have attracted national attention for increasing college access through the Long Beach College Promise and a Seamless Education partnership that aligns curriculum, instruction and training from pre-kindergarten through the doctoral level. The Long Beach leaders had traveled to D.C. to share their successes at a national education summit. Long Beach was one of two cities represented.
Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group in the nation. The Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans initiative was established in 1990 to increase academic opportunities for Hispanics. The initiative was continued by President William J. Clinton and President George W. Bush. Obama’s executive order, aimed at strengthening the initiative, is at whitehouse.gov under Briefing Room, then Presidential Actions.
More than 52 percent of LBUSD students are Hispanic. Participation in rigorous Advanced Placement college preparatory classes by Hispanics and other minorities here has soared in recent years. College enrollment is on the rise here too, in part because of the College Promise, a cooperative venture among CSULB, LBCC and LBUSD. The program includes a tuition-free semester at LBCC and it offers guaranteed admission to CSULB for local students. Learn more about College Promise here.
At LBCC, more than 500 students this fall are taking advantage of a tuition-free semester, thanks to the College Promise.
The College Promise is an extension of Long Beach’s Seamless Education partnership, described as a national model in a case study this year by the Washington D.C.-based Business Higher Education Forum. The Seamless partnership connects LBUSD’s educators with business leaders, LBCC and CSULB to help students progress smoothly through their education and into the workforce.