Increasing Representation Across Classrooms and Boardrooms Will Help Improve Latino Outcomes
Author: Stephanie Parra, Executive Director, ALL In EducationJuly 22, 2021
We are at a pivotal moment when it comes to education policy and advocacy. We know that 46% of Arizona's K-12 students are Latino, yet they are by far, severely underrepresented in their classrooms and are disproportionately attending schools that are under-resourced and not achieving at the rate of their white peers. The gap in representation is so deep, that only 16% of the teaching workforce and less than 13% of education-board members are Latino. When those in leadership positions have the lived-experience similar to the students they serve, the decisions they make are more likely to be in line with equity. The longer we wait to solve these issues the further we jeopardize our state's economic prosperity, health of our communities and success of our students.
At ALL In Education, we are committed to ensuring that every student has an opportunity to succeed. Our work is centered on building power and influence that is reflective of our state’s K-12 student population. To do this we have developed three comprehensive leadership programs that will help build up our communities and prepare current and future leaders to become more effective when it comes to making decisions that will lead to better student outcomes for Latino and all students of color.
We know that our communities are filled with untapped talent and potential. Parents and families are the answer to many of the issues we have been facing for decades in our schools, which is why we developed The Parent Educator Academy (PEA). Now approaching its second cohort, PEA is designed to provide participants with a rigorous certification program developed and delivered by The New Teacher Project. The program was developed to train parents to better support their children throughout their educational journeys and to potentially take on the role of Instructional Assistants at the participating school sites. The school sites chosen must serve a high concentration of Latino students, students of color and low-income families and be located in Maricopa, Yuma and Pima Counties – which account for 86% of the Latino student population in Arizona.
Preparing our Arizona’s next-generation leaders is the core component of the Adelante Fellowship. Adelante is the first of its kind, leadership development program that will expose emerging leaders to what it means to be an effective advocate. Beyond advocacy work, participants will learn how policies are formed and the role politics play in influencing the education system. A key part of Adelante is providing our fellows with clear insight on how the education system works.
To create real, systemic change we know that we need to also work with current and emerging school board and community leaders. The LISTO Academy - Leaders In Support of Transformational Opportunities - is focused on EQUITY and will work with Latino and values-based leaders that are ready to serve in local and state education and organization governing board positions. LISTO will provide participants insight on what their responsibilities are as current and potential school board members, how to effectively govern while representing community values, and guidance on what equity based solutions and decisions look like. Both the Adelante Fellowship and LISTO Academy will start their first cohorts this Fall 2021.
To begin addressing all the inequities our students and communities are facing, we must work collaboratively with leaders across different sectors who know and understand that Latino student success is critical to the success of our state. We are grateful for partnerships from Helios Education Foundation, The Arizona Department of Education (ADE), and Pharos Foundation, to name a few. These three partners have announced a new investment into the Parent Educator Academy (PEA) and other leadership programs at ALL In Education. This investment will allow us to expand our programs and broaden our work to impact our communities in a more meaningful way.
Our organization is committed to ensuring that our programs are both effective and solutions oriented which is why we will evaluate the impact each program will have on our efforts. Our impact and progress will be measured annually through the MAPA: The State of Arizona Latino Education, Power and Influence report. We invite you to check out our 2020-2021 MAPA report, learn more about our program and join our efforts by visiting us at allineducation.org.