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Biden creates panels to address inequality in educating Hispanic students

by Andrea Widener
September 18, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 34


Hispanic students make up 27% of all children in prekindergarten through 12th grade and nearly 20% of college students in the US, but they face systemic barriers that ensure they are vastly underrepresented as recipients of bachelor’s or graduate degrees. In an executive order issued Sept. 13, President Joe Biden created two panels aimed at examining those barriers and how to overcome them. The first is an intergovernmental panel, chaired by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, that will bring together representatives of 24 government agencies—including NASA and the National Science Foundation—to examine the barriers Hispanic students face, such as lack of federal support for Hispanic-serving colleges and universities. The second is a Presidential Advisory Commission of up to 21 members that will help identify ways to improve educational opportunities for Hispanic students. “Hispanic and Latino students face systemic inequitable barriers in accessing a high-quality education and a fair shot at the American dream,” the executive order says. Hispanic people face the same barriers in the chemistry community. For example, just 3.3% of chemistry professors at the top 50 schools are Hispanic/Latino/Latina, according to the Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity (OXIDE).


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