Members of the newly formed Latino Coalition for Educational Equality announced the creation of their group outside the Texas Senate chambers on Tuesday. They want to ensure that Latino voices are taken into consideration as important school reform legislation is considered this year.
The announcement of the group came on a day when education topics such as graduation and testing were discussed in the Texas Legislature. The coalition members said they planned on testifying on education issues during Texas House and Senate education committee hearings.
Latinos now make up about 53 percent of Texas public school students, but the coalition says they are excluded from deciding important policy.
“I’m just amazed by the lack of Latino experts in the process,” said Joey Cardenas, of Texas HOPE, as reported by the Texas Observer. “I think you’re leaving a significant part of the equation out.”
He added that Latino leaders must “not be an afterthought, but as decision makers in that process.”
Members of the group include representatives of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Latino/a Education Research and Policy Project and the Texas Association of Bilingual Education.
Earlier in February a judge ruled that the Texas school funding system is unconstitutional and is not adequately funding schools. The state is expected to appeal the decision to the Texas Supreme Court.
As I reported earlier on this blog, when the case went to trial, former state demographer Steve Murdock testified that the significant challenges facing Latino children required a greater investment from the state.
“Our future is increasingly tied to the minority population–how well they do in terms of education will determine how well Texas does in the future,” Murdock said, according to The Dallas Morning News.
He estimated that by 2050, Texas public school students will be about 64 percent Latino and 15.5 percent white. ABout 27 percent of Latinos live below the poverty line–compared with 9.5 percent of whites.