Hispanic leaders in Nevada are calling attention to an important education issue that takes place outside of the classroom — the lack of Hispanic representation on many of the state’s elected education boards.
Even in the Clark County School District, where about 44 percent of the students are Hispanic, there was no Hispanic member until recently. When a vacancy came open, the board voted to appoint a Hispanic to the seven-member board earlier this month.
“As a board we do not reflect the diversity of our district,” school board president Carolyn Edwards said according to a Las Vegas Sun story. “Improving that ratio is important.”
Hispanic leaders are trying to encourage more Latinos to run for eduction boards.
Illustrating the importance of representation, the newspaper mentions how Hispanic state lawmakers helped push through $50 million in funding for English Language Learners.
Currently the Nevada Board of Education only has one Hispanic member and the Nevada Board of Regents has never had a Hispanic member. Both boards are elected.
Former Clark County board member Jose Solorio recalled how his Hispanic background helped offer insights into the community. He told the Sun that when the district wanted to use bond money in 1998 mostly on building schools and not on remodeling him, he persuaded them to use the funds more equitably. He argued that more low-income Hispanic children lived in the older schools that needed updates.
“It wasn’t the right thing to do to ignore the existing schools,” Solorio told the Sun. “That’s where the majority of Latinos and African Americans live.”