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For Immediate Release

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith

Regarding the Florida Policy Options Town Hall Meeting on Accelerating Latino Student Success in Higher Education

“Today, Excelencia in Education and Enlace Florida hosted a town hall meeting in Orlando focused on accelerating higher education attainment and workforce preparation among Hispanic students. I’m proud to say that Florida has made great strides over the last decade when it comes to the academic performance of our Hispanic students. We continue to successfully narrow the achievement gap between White and Hispanic students, and during the past five years, we have increased the graduation rate among Hispanic students by nearly nine percent.

”Despite these achievements it is clear that we have much more work to do, especially when it comes to better preparing not just Hispanic students, but all students for success in college or a career. This has been a priority of mine throughout my professional career and, working in conjunction with the State Board of Education, we have made this a chief educational focus for our state. In fact, one of the key goals of our Race to the Top effort is to “double the percentage of incoming high school freshmen who ultimately graduate from high school, go on to college, and achieve at least a year’s worth of college credit.”

“The discussions taking place today through this town hall meeting are essential as we work in partnership to accomplish this important objective and move every one of our students forward towards an even brighter future.”