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Arizona group trying to get more Latinos in education leadership roles

(Facebook Photo/ALL in Education)

PHOENIX — The makeup of Latinos in education leadership roles in Arizona is disproportionate to that of the state’s K through 12 student population.

A new group launched on Monday is working to change that. It’s called Arizona Latino Leaders in Education, also known as ALL in for Education.

“Our mission is to advance the influence of Latinos in decision making in education in the state of Arizona,” said Luis Avila, the group’s founder.

He said they’re trying to get more Latinos appointed to the three state education boards. Those three are the Arizona State Board of Education, the Arizona Board of Regents and the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools.

Right now, only three of the 30 members of these boards are Latinos. That’s despite Latino students making up nearly half of all students in Arizona’s K-12 schools.

Avila said for too long, decisions affecting Latino students have been made by “people who do not have the lived experiences that inform policy making.” He said that’s why the motto of his group is “nothing about us without us.”

“We have to be in the decision-making tables to make sure that nothing that is decided about us does not include us,” he said.

Avila added more Latino representation will ultimately help Latino students succeed, which he said is important because “the future of our state is really interconnected to the way that our Latino students do in school.”

Arizona Latino Leaders in Education launched Monday during an event at the Arizona State Capitol that brought together education leaders from Arizona and other parts of the country.

Marco Davis, president and CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, was there for the launch.

He said one reason why few Latinos serve in the state’s education boards is because they are not part of networks that’ll get them noticed by those with the power to appoint education board members. He said joining philanthropic groups, advocacy organizations and other community institutions can help change that.

Davis added there is a great need to get more Latinos appointed to education leadership roles in Arizona.

“They’re often the best equipped to advocate on behalf of the community, to respond to the needs of the community and to incorporate the perspective of the community as decisions are being made,” he said.

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