February 1, 2002

President Bush Names 17 Outstanding Hispanic Americans to Commission on Educational Excellence For Hispanic Americans

The White House Office of the Press Secretary announced yesterday that President Bush intends to appoint 17 individuals to serve on the President's Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.

President Bush authorized the Commission when he signed Executive Order 13230 on October 12, 2001, and charged it with creating a multi-year plan to close the educational achievement gap between Hispanic American students and their peers. The Commission members will: (1) advise U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige on the progress of Hispanic Americans in closing the academic achievement gap and meeting the promise of the new No Child Left Behind Act of 2001; (2) monitor and measure the performance of federal agencies in creating federal initiatives within the Hispanic community and hold them responsible for improving the participation of Hispanic Americans in federal education programs; (3) identify successful methods of expanding parental, state and local government, private sector, and community involvement in improving education; and (4) recommend ways the federal government can assist Hispanic parents to successfully prepare their children to graduate from high school and pursue postsecondary education opportunities.

The appointees named yesterday include: Frank Hanna of Georgia, who upon confirmation will serve as Co-Chair, Patricia Janette Mazzuca of Pennsylvania who upon confirmation will serve as Co-Chair, Micaela Alvarez of Texas, Christopher Jeffrey Barbic of Texas, Jose Guadalupe Conchola of Arizona, Jaime Alfonso Escalante of California, Charles Patrick Garcia of Florida, Norma Sanchez Garza of Texas, Alexander Gonzalez of California, Miguel Angel Hernandez, Jr. of Texas, Jose Eugenio Hoyos of Virginia, Francisco Jose Paret of Puerto Rico, Altagracia Ramos of Ohio, Enedelia Schofield of Oregon, Ofelia Saenz Vanden Bosch of Texas, Rene Vasquez of Puerto Rico, and Octavio Jesus Visiedo of Florida.

In addition to the up-to-21 members appointed by President Bush, Secretary Paige will serve as an ex-officio member of the Commission as will Hector Barreto, Administration of the Small Business Administration; Paul O'Neill, Secretary of the Treasury; and Mel Martinez, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

"President Bush has selected an outstanding group of men and women to guide our efforts to close the inexcusable achievement gap between Hispanic American students and their peers," Paige said. "I look forward to working with them to help Hispanic students across the country reach high standards of achievement, regardless of the language or other barriers to academic success that they may bring to the classroom. Every child in this country can succeed and with the assistance and advice of this Commission. I look forward to improving the academic performance and attainment of all of our Hispanic students."

The individuals selected by President Bush to advise him and Secretary Paige represent a variety of backgrounds including education, business and the community service. They will work together to deliver interim and final reports to the president. Their final report will be due not later than March 31, 2003, shortly after which the Commission will terminate.

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