BY SAMUEL RODRIGUEZ [Special to The Sacramento Bee]

It’s high school graduation season – a joyful occasion for families across the country.

But every year, we fail to deliver on the promise of public education for too many Hispanic students. In many cases, this includes even those with high school diplomas in hand.
We at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference consider education equity a matter of biblical justice, and we’re committed to raising the standards for all students, especially minority children and those living in poverty.

Latino families value hard work, education and faith. Yet our educational system continues to fail Hispanic students, even as parents see college as necessary for their children’s futures.
According to a recent report from Learning Heroes, a national parent organization, 90 percent of Hispanic parents want their children to go to college – a higher percentage than any ethnic group measured. But only 42 percent of Hispanic students are making it to college graduation. More painful still, according to the latest National Assessment of Education Progress results, just 12 percent of Hispanic high school seniors are proficient or above in math.

We begin changing this scenario by honoring the God-given potential of every child as we insist on access to a high-quality education for all. Hispanic parents are deeply aware of the value of a good education, but they need a clear picture of how their children are performing. Too often that information has not been communicated. The Learning Heroes study showed that 87 percent of Hispanic parents believe their child is performing at grade level in math, but the reality is that only 26 percent are.

The good news is that the truth sets us free. Once we open our eyes to the reality of student progress and lock arms to work together, parents and educators can make powerful change. We are proud to stand with organizations such as Learning Heroes, which talk directly with parents and provide resources.

In Sacramento and across the country, we stand at the intersection of faith and education, engaged and ready to raise standards and invest our time and talent in student success. Only when Hispanic students are achieving in K-12 classrooms will they be prepared to achieve the goal in their parents’ hearts: college graduation.

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of Sacramento is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the Hispanic Evangelical Association. He can be contacted at

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