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Hispanic enrollment rising in U.S. schools, colleges

Associated Press | 3/11/2009, 6:31 a.m.

The education law has major implications for both black and Hispanic students, including those who speak English as a second language because they tend to lag behind whites in reading and math scores.

Obama has been largely quiet on immigration reform, which could pave the way for citizenship for nearly 12 million illegal immigrants.

Richard Fry, a senior researcher at the Pew Hispanic Center, said Hispanic growth cannot be ignored in policy debates for too long. While in recent elections Hispanics have cast only 6 percent of the total ballots, “Latinos’ electoral power and participation levels clearly are going to grow,” Fry said.

Other findings from the data:

• About 58 percent of children enrolled in grades K-12 are non-Hispanic whites, a group that represents 66 percent of the U.S. population. After Hispanics, blacks were the second-largest minority group enrolled in K-12 (15 percent), followed by Asians (4 percent).

• Fifty-three percent of Hispanic 4-year-olds were enrolled in nursery school, compared with 43 percent in 1997 and 21 percent in 1987.

The census data was based on the Current Population Survey. Data on U.S. regions and states came from the 2007 American Community Survey, the government’s annual survey of about 3 million households.

AP Education Writer Libby Quaid contributed to this report.

(Associated Press)