Paul Luna, President and CEO of Helios Education Foundation, Addresses the State of Latino Education in Arizona at NALEO Education Convening
Author: Helios Education Foundation
Paul Luna, President and CEO of Helios Education Foundation gave the keynote address at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund Statewide Education Convening in Arizona on October 11.
More than 25 Latino elected officials were there to discuss the state of Latino education and examine policy strategies for bridging the opportunity gap for Latino students in Arizona.
The two day convening provided the opportunity for policymakers and key stakeholders to discuss how policy can help ensure all Arizona students have access to an educational system that prepares them to be successful in college and the workforce.
Mr. Luna shared the state of education in Arizona and the opportunities ahead for Latino students. He acknowledged that the realities of the achievement gap are sobering, however he also highlighted bright spots of opportunity.
"Every student can be successful regardless of where they were born, who their parents are or how much money they have," said Luna.
As a native Arizonan, Mr. Luna has a vested interest in strengthening Arizona education. "Arizona must be a leader in ensuring that a high quality education is available to every student, including our Latino children," said Luna. "I am a proud Arizonan and I believe in a better future for our state."
This important conversation takes place at a critical time for the state of Arizona and its economy. By 2018, more than 60 percent of all jobs in Arizona will require a college education. With Latinos currently accounting for approximately 41 percent of all students in grades K-12, the educational success of the Latino community will play a crucial role in the ability of the state to build the workforce it needs to remain economically competitive.
In addition, Latino education remains a critical focus area for Helios Education Foundation. The Foundation is committed to providing opportunities for postsecondary success with an emphasis on traditionally underserved students including minority and rural populations.
Mr. Luna concluded his comments by saying, "Our state, like many others across the nation, is at a crossroads. Our future will be dictated by the choices we make today. We have to decide that Arizona is a state that values cultural diversity and fundamentally treats everyone with dignity and respect. We also must decide that Arizona will be a state that values education, a state that believes that education changes lives and makes communities better."