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Professor named to presidential advisory commission

June 03, 2011

Professor Alfredo Artiles, a recognized thought leader in the fields of special education and educational equity at Arizona State University, is one of several new appointees announced by the White House May 26 to the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

In announcing the members of this high-profile commission President Barack Obama said, “The extraordinary dedication these men and women bring to their new roles will greatly serve the American people. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this administration and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

Commissioners, appointed by the president for their relevant experience or subject matter expertise, advise President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on matters pertaining to the education attainment of the Hispanic community. They represent a variety of sectors, including the education sector, labor organizations, research institutions, corporate and financial institutions, public and private philanthropic organizations, and nonprofit and community-based organizations.  

Artiles is professor of culture, society and education in the School of Social Transformation, part of ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where he co-directs the Equity Alliance. He has published extensively in the general, special and bilingual education fields for research, policy, and practitioner audiences, and his research in the United States and other nations examines the role of cultural processes in special education identification practices and teacher learning in urban schools. 

According to the White House, the commission will play a pivotal role in meeting President Obama’s goal for the nation to have the best-educated workforce in the world by 2020. It begins its work on the heels of the release of an April report by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and the U.S. Department of Education showing that Hispanics have the lowest education attainment level overall of any group in the nation.

Hispanics are by far the largest minority group in today’s American public education system, according to a recent report by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The report noted that Hispanics number more than 12.4 million in the country’s elementary, middle and high schools. Nearly 22 percent, or slightly more than one in five, of all pre‐K-12 students enrolled in America’s public schools is Hispanic, but they face persistent obstacles to educational attainment. Less than half are enrolled in any early learning program. Only about half earn their high school diploma on time; those who do complete high school are only half as likely as their peers to be prepared for college and only 4 percent have completed graduate or professional degree programs.

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics director Juan Sepúlveda said the Commission will chart ways to increase Hispanic educational attainment, which is important for the country’s economy.

“The commission will identify ways to strengthen our country. Hispanic students have graduated at lower rates than the rest of the population for years, making America’s progress impossible if they continue to lag behind,” said Sepúlveda. “Strengthening and improving educational excellence in this community isn’t just a Hispanic problem. It’s a challenge for our entire country.”

Artiles said improving access and outcomes in education and preparation for the labor market is of pressing importance – for the future of our economy and our country.

“I'm deeply honored by the appointment,” said Artiles, “and have great respect for the approach Juan Sepúlveda is taking to meet the White House Initiative’s mandate. By engaging Hispanic communities and philanthropic, business, nonprofit, and education communities in a national dialogue and partnerships, he’s laying the groundwork for programs and policy outcomes that will have relevance and currency at a grassroots level.”

Other individuals appointed by President Obama to the Commission include Eduardo J. Padrón (chair) and César Conde of Fla.; Francisco G. Cigarroa, Ricardo Romo, Sylvia Acevedo and JoAnn Gama of Texas; Darline P. Robles and Patricia Gándara of Calif.; Alicia Abella and Marta Tienda of N.J.; Luis R. Fraga of Wash.; Maria Neira and Lisette Nieves of N.Y.; Daniel Cardinali of Va.; and Manny Sanchez of Ill.

Prior to joining ASU, Artiles was a faculty member at Vanderbilt University and at the University of California, Los Angeles. He just completed a term as vice president of the American Educational Research Association’s Division on the Social Contexts of Education and serves on editorial boards of nine national and international journals. Artiles holds a master’s of education and a doctorate from the University of Virginia.

Maureen Roen,
School of Social Transformation

Media contact:
Carol Hughes,
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences