Education Officials Host Twitter Town Hall

Averaging only about 100 viewers during an hour-long live streamed Twitter Latino education town hall, Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Juan Sepulveda, Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, in answering a wide range of education questions on Monday afternoon.

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Questions asked live focused on everything from community college and navigating the educational system to early education and the Dream Act.

Duncan talked about upping standards through the reform of No Child Left Behind (“way too punitive, way too prescriptive”) and President Obama’s Race to the Top and said that, “The purpose of education is pure and simple to give every single young person a chance to fulfill their dreams. Our young people have amazing academic potential and I don’t think we as adults have done enough to create opportunities for them to do well.”

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Duncan and Sepuliveda touted the Obama administrations key gains, including raising the Pell Grants to $5550 and passing a measure that made repayment of loans affordable by limiting monthly payments to no more than 10 percent of income and offering to turn the loan into a gant for those who choose to teach and remain teachers for 10 years.

Sepulveda also mentioned nationwide community talks being led by him and other education officials

Despite more than half of Latino students starting their college careers in community colleges, several of the questions were about encouraging and helping Latinos attend four-year colleges, especially because the difference between unemployment between high school grads (10 percent) and AA-degree recipients (10.1 percent) is slim.

“We put a huge emphasis on community colleges,” Sepulveda acknowledged, but “we need more people with high school diplomas, more getting associate’s degrees and more in four-year colleges.”  He mentioned that education officials were looking at community colleges such as the Santa Ana Community College as models for how to move students through two-year colleges quickly and preparing them for four year schools.

Sepulveda said that recent White house community talks that took place throughout the country, in DC, Orlando, Las Vegas, had successfully brought together community education leaders in an effort to hear their ideas and partner them with private sector supporters. He said other community talks would follow, including in New York, New Mexico and Colorado.

To watch the town hall, visit: