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Houston Groups Pledge Millions to Boost Bilingual, STEM Education

Talento Bilingue de Houston and the University of Houston are among the public and private organizations investing nearly $11 million as part of an effort to improve education for Hispanics in the Houston metropolitan area.

Talento Bilingue de Houston, a cultural arts and education center, committed $1 million to support bilingual education and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education through the arts, including theater, cinema, and music, with a goal or reaching 300,000 students.

The University of Houston committed more than $1.5 million to prepare 200 aspiring bilingual educators to teach scientific investigation skills to minority elementary school children. The funds will help develop and recruit 40 STEM teachers for each of the next five years.

The theater and college are among 10 groups donating fund to "support and advance the educational attainment of Hispanics from cradle-to-career. The largest donor, the National Hispanic Professional Organization, committed $4.2 million to encourage students to attain postsecondary degrees in STEM fields.

"Investing in our Latino students is not only the smart thing to do but it is also the right thing to do to strengthen our country's economy and global competitiveness," Alejandra Ceja, the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, said in a statement.

"In order to continue leveling the playing field for Latinos and ensure our nation's vitality, we must continue to invest in their educational advancement."

The White House established the initiative in 1990 to address the educational disparities that Hispanics face.

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