January 26, 2004

Pew Hispanic Center/Kaiser Family Foundation National Survey Of Latinos

Hispanics support the use of standardized testing and are less likely than African Americans to say such tests are biased against non-white students, according to a new comprehensive survey of Latino attitudes toward education. In general, Latinos offer positive views of their local schools, teachers and educational institutions, and Latino parents say they are active in their child’s school and involved in their education. But the survey also reveals their concerns that the educational system does not always treat Latino students fairly. Substantial numbers of Latinos, for example, worry that Hispanic students lag behind other children because teachers are unable to bridge the cultural divides in their classrooms.

Latinos also are willing supporters of the key principles embodied in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the education reform law that is the core of President George W. Bush’s education agenda. The legislation requires all schools to use standardized tests to measure a student’s progress and sanctions those that do not improve. On the issue of how to deal with schools that repeatedly fail to meet performance levels, when forced to chose, Latinos are more likely to favor helping to improve the schools but requiring students to continue to attend than whites, who are more likely to endorse the principle of letting parents move their children elsewhere.