MALDEF Criticizes Texas Governor’s Decision to Reject Federal Education Improvement Funds

Decision will leave minority students behind

January 14, 2010

San Antonio, TX – Today, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization, strongly criticized the decision of Texas Governor Rick Perry not to pursue federal Race to the Top funds despite the fact that these funds are intended to help states increase student achievement and high school graduation rates, decrease achievement gaps, and improve teacher performance. Under the program, Texas could receive up to $700 million to prepare students for success in college and the workplace; turn around the state’s lowest-performing schools and build data systems that track student success.

“Texas desperately needs Race to the Top funds,” stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Southwest Regional Counsel. “Our school districts are struggling with deficits and the Texas Education Agency’s own data demonstrates that our students are performing far below national educational standards. Forty-eight percent of Texas public school students are Latino; the Latino community and all of Texas is looking to the Governor to improve education, not turn his back on the schoolchildren of Texas.”

“It is extremely disappointing that politics will stand in the way of securing funds to address critical shortages in meeting the educational needs of students who most need the help. Now Texas will be forced to address its needs with limited state funding,” stated David Hinojosa, MALDEF Senior Litigator and lead counsel in MALDEF’s 2008 U.S. v. Texas legal victory in which a federal court declared that Texas is failing to overcome language barriers for tens of thousands of Latino students in secondary programs.

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Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund