Boasting political support from Arizona first -- and only -- Latino governor, David Garcia writes on Facebook that he is "humbled to receive the support of a man I have admired since I was a boy -- former Governor Raúl Castro.
Castro, who was elected governor in 1974 and served two years before answering a call from President Jimmy Carter to serve as ambassador to Argentina, says that it's "hard to believe" that since he was elected governor 40 years ago, "no other Latino has been elected to statewide office."
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In the Facebook post, the 98-year-old Castro reminds readers of Arizona's "proud Latino heritage" and notes that "we need state representation that is reflective of our citizens, and likewise, we need a state superintendent who is cognizant of the needs and challenges of our students."
The achievement gap between Latino students and their non-minority counterparts has repeatedly highlighted in an April 2012 report, "Dropped? Latino Education and Arizona's Economic Future," published by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University.
"Arizona's Latinos* - our fastest-growing population group - continue to display substantial shortcomings in educational performance levels, lagging well behind the state's White population," the report stated. "In 2001, Latinos' progress and potential were offset by low educational attainment. Too many Latinos fail to acquire the education, training and mentoring needed to succeed in a skills-based economy. Barely half of Arizona Hispanics, for example, obtained a high school education."
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Castro says that Garcia is the "visionary leader who can bridge this gap and relate to the struggles and strengths of this population."
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