By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Latinos represent the fastest growing group of students in the country’s public schools – 24% of the enrollment in 2011, the latest composite source of data.

It’s a widely held perception that Latino students in our schools are English-language learners. But among students 5-17, a report by Excelencia in Education found that 85% who speak a language other than English at home have no difficulty with English at school, according to a report in Education Week.

From 2003, the high school dropout rate for Latino students fell by nearly half. In reading and math, there was marked improvement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress for elementary and high school students. Great strides.