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Arizona Latinos seeking equal representation in education groups

(Flickr/U.S. Department of Education)

PHOENIX — A group of Latino activists and leaders in Arizona launched a campaign on Thursday in an effort to achieve fair representation on three education boards in the state.

The Arizona for Latino Leaders in Education, otherwise known as ALL in for Education AZ, want Gov. Doug Ducey to appoint more Latinos to the Arizona State Board of Education, Arizona Board of Regents and Arizona State Board for Charter Schools.

Terms on the boards last anywhere from four to eight years.

The campaign argued that more than 30 percent of Arizona residents and nearly 50 percent of all K-12 students in Arizona are Latino, but that only one of the 30 governor-appointments on all three boards is a Latino.

“Latinos are significantly underrepresented in the leadership of the most important education policy-making bodies in the state — an oversight that must be corrected immediately,” Francisca Montoya, co-founder of the Arizona Latino School Board Association, said in a statement.

“Gov. Ducey can begin to address decades of Latino underrepresentation on the state’s education boards and fill those seats with qualified Latinos right now.”

The leaders behind the campaign said eight seats on all three boards have terms that have already expired or will expire by January, so opportunity is “on the horizon.”

“Leaders who look like us — and more importantly — who know and understand the Latino community should be making the decisions that impact our students,” Dr. Yara Vargas-Ortiz, an Afro-Latina mother of three, said in a statement.

The campaign will launch an online petition and digital advertising effort this week in order to ask Arizonans to join them in urging Ducey to appoint more Latinos to the school boards.

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