Beyond the Numbers: Getting the Story on Latino Education


Friday, July 20 – Brickell Room

2:00 pm: Welcome and Icebreaker

  • Francisco Vara-Orta, Education Week
  • Caroline Hendrie, EWA

2:30–3:30 pm: Improving Hispanic Access to Higher Education

What obstacles are preventing today’s Hispanic students from pursuing education beyond high school? From finances to “college knowledge,” experts explore barriers to higher education and how to overcome them.


  • Cecilia Flores, Juarez-Lincoln High School, Advise TX College Advising Corps
  • George Garcia, University of Texas, Austin
  • Michele Siqueiros, Campaign for College Opportunity
  • Rafael Lorente, University of Maryland (moderator)

3:45–4:45 pm: Why Hispanic Students Do – or Don’t – Graduate

Getting into college is less than half the battle. What matters most for turning acceptance letters into degrees? What practices are institutions adopting to promote the success of Latinx students?

  • Tanya I. Garcia, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
  • Luis Maldonado, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
  • Betty Viamontes, University of South Florida
  • Jose Martinez, El Diario NY (moderator)

5:00–6:00 pm: Ins and Outs of Public Data on Higher Ed

In this introduction to federal information sources, learn how to obtain and understand free government data on Hispanics in higher education to generate stories and buttress your reporting.

  • Wil Del Pilar, The Education Trust
  • Stella Flores, New York University
  • Tanya I. Garcia, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
  • Mc Nelly Torres (moderator)

6:15 pm Reception – Blue Water Cafe

Saturday, July 21 – Trade Room

10:30–11:15 am: The American Dream, Children and Families

What do the data tell us about the education experience of young Latinx adults and children enrolled in early childhood education? Experts walk reporters through the numbers.

11:30 am–12:15 pm: Where are the Teachers? Bringing in more Latinx and Bilingual Educators

There is a widely acknowledged lack of teachers of color, including Latinx teachers. While one-quarter of students in the U.S. are Latinx, only about 8 percent of teachers are. Even more of a challenge: finding bilingual teachers, especially since one in five students in the U.S. is an English language learner.  The session examines both dilemmas and how journalists should cover.

12:15–12:45 pm: Lunch – working lunch

12:45–1:30 pm: Keynote – Julia Keleher, Puerto Rico education secretary

Patricia Mazzei, The New York Times (moderator). Puerto Rico Education Secretary Julia Keleher describes the state of education on the island, as well as her education reform goals, which include shutting down nearly 300 schools.

1:30–2:30 pm: What Is the Choice?

A rapidly rising  number of Hispanic students attend public charter schools around the U.S., with nearly 840,000 as of the 2014-15 school year. And private school choice grew from around 40,000 Hispanic students in 2005 to 280,000 in 2015. What’s been the impact of this shift away from traditional public schools on students and communities? Why and how do families choose schools? What should journalists make of concerns expressed from some civil rights advocates that school choice, both public and private,  increases segregation by race and ethnicity?

  • Debbie Mortham, Foundation for Excellence in Education
  • Karla Hernandez-Mats, United Teachers of Dade
  • Aurelio Montemayor, IDRA
  • Judith Marty, Mater Academy
  • Esmeralda Fabian Romero, LA School Report (moderator)

2:45–3:45 pm: ESSA and the English-Language Learner – Are States Doing Enough?

The new federal law covering K-12 education improves on its predecessors by requiring states to shine a bigger spotlight on English language learners. But the devil is in the details: States will set their own accountability policies around ELL students and not all provisions will aid ELs in gaining proficiency in English and academics. What should reporters look for in their states’ compliance with ESSA and what questions should they ask?

  • Nelson Flores, University of Pennsylvania
  • Leslie Villegas, Migration Policy Institute
  • Ryan Pontier, Florida International University
  • Juliana Jiminez, Univision (moderator)

3:45–4:30 pm: How I Did the Story