For immediate Release June 23, 2014
NEW RESEARCH REVEALS LANGLEY PARK CHILDREN AND FAMILIES FACE SEVERE BARRIERS TO ACHIEVEMENT
LANGLEY PARK, MD — The Urban Institute, Prince George’s County Public Schools, and CASA de Maryland today released From Cradle to Career: The Multiple Challenges Facing Immigrant Families in Langley Park Promise Neighborhood, an examination of the dire challenges facing families in the region’s densest immigrant neighborhood. The report, the result of a year-long community assessment process supported by the US Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods program, engaged dozens of community organizations, government agencies, schools, and Langley Park parents and youth in examining the multiple sector deficiencies impacting the capacity of Langley Park students to learn and grow.
“Thanks to a Promise Neighborhood Planning grant, Langley Park had the rare luxury of taking a data-driven look at the community’s needs and pinpointing key points of intervention to make a difference in the lives of children and families,” explained Molly M. Scott, Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute. “Because immigrants and their children are one of the fastest growing segments of our society, what we learn moving forward in Langley Park will have implications not just for local practice but for communities across the country.”
The year of research revealed that, few of Langley Park’s 3700 children– nearly all born in the U.S.– are currently on track for a secure future. Their path is impeded by well-known challenges of poverty: poor access to health care (Langley Park lacks pediatricians altogether), high rates of neighborhood crime, chronic housing instability and school mobility, and particularly low levels of parent education and English proficiency. Although they enter kindergarten less ready than their peers, Langley Park children largely make up academic gaps during their elementary years. Unfortunately, with each transition to middle school and then high school, Langley Park children fall further behind. Less than half graduate high school in four years, often because of high rates of early pregnancy and the early work to help support their families. On virtually all standards for a healthy and stable life, Langley Park children fall below their peers in the County and the State.
“This report will be a valuable tool as we plan for future educational initiatives in Langley Park,“ said Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, Prince George’s County Public Schools Chief Executive Officer. “It not only represents the culminating effort of valuable partnerships between Prince George’s County Public Schools, CASA de Maryland, Prince George’s County, and other organizations, but also marks the beginning of a realignment of resources and services that will better serve our students and their families.”
In light of the adverse statistics, partners in the planning year, which included Prince George’s County, Prince George’s County Public Schools, Prince George’s Community College, Centronia, Latin American Youth Center, Community Clinic Inc,, the University of Maryland Schools of Education and Public Health and others, performed the hard work of prioritizing the order of the critical interventions needed to address the crisis for Langley Park children and many committed to be involved in the campaign to eliminate silos and create holistic solutions. Building on the services and programs already offered in Langley Park, Promise Neighborhoods allowed stakeholders to establish a data-supported road map to improve lives.
“There are no simple or quick solutions. For example, you don’t build a health clinic from one day to the next. We have challenges, but we also have assets – a vibrant community with committed families willing to do what it takes for their children to succeed,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director, CASA de Maryland. “Together we can ensure that Langley Park is a community in which all children and families can live and thrive.”
A copy of the full report can be obtained at www.somoslangley.org
To interview co-authors, parents, and partners, please contact Maria Jose Sandoval at 301-717-4492.
About the Authors of the Report:
CASA de Maryland, the region’s largest Latino and immigrant rights organization, is dedicated to creating a more just society by building power and improving the quality of life in low-income immigrant communities.CASA’s headquarters is located in the heart of Langley Park and the organization has designated improved lives for Langley Park residents as a top strategic goal for its work.
The Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that seeks to elevate the policy debate through rigorous, objective research. Among its many areas of expertise, Urban specializes in community-based research to support large place-based initiatives like Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, and Sustainable Communities as well as research on how immigrants interact with federal and local institutions.
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) is one of the nation’s 25 largest school districts, having 204 schools, approximately 124,000 students and nearly 18,000 employees. The district serves a diverse student population from urban, suburban and rural communities.
Three PGCPS schools – Langley Park-McCormick Elementary, Buck Lodge Middle School, and High Point High School – participated in the research.