RENO, Nev. – The University of Nevada, Reno hosted a town hall meeting on college affordability and the Hispanic community Wednesday afternoon. Hundreds of high school students from all over Washoe County were in the audience.
“We believe in you and we know what the potential is for all of you,” Superintendent Pedro Martinez said. “I don’t want any of you to give up hope because we are going to fight for every one of you. We have the most passionate staff and this year, whatever you guys need, we’re going to do it for you.”
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan took questions from students and educators about the challenges they’re facing and ways to move forward. He says education is the way to a better economy.
“The fate of the Latino community and the fate of the country, these two things are inextricably linked,” Duncan said. “We have to educate our way to a better economy. Over the past two years we’ve seen a 25% increase in Latino enrollment in college and that’s fantastic. We need the next generation to keep coming behind. This is not a time to rest on our laurels.”
The stop is part of the Department of Education’s “Education Drives America” bus tour. Duncan says improving education needs to be a shared responsibility between state and federal government.
“We’re trying to step up and be held accountable; we need the states to step up,” Duncan said. “We talked about 40 states cutting education funding and we need universities to be more creative and keep costs down. They need to become more efficient and instead of just trying to get more kids in the door, build cultures around completion, not just access. There are far too many young people here and across the country who think college is unaffordable and that’s a huge problem.”
The bus tour wraps up in Washington, D.C. later this month.