Sunday, December 11, 2016


The disparities noted in this report by the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) in Austin, Texas, should concern us deeply.  For endnotes and more information, visit Access U.S., Texas and county-level data on child well-being  at Texas Kids Count is a project of the Center for Public Policy Priorities.  Here's the related news report by By Melissa B. Taboada from the Austin American-Statesman:  Study: Black, Latino children in Austin more likely to live in poverty.

Here's the newspaper report on this study in Spanish from the Ahora Sí segment in the Austin American-StatesmanNiños latinos y afroamericanos de Austin propensos a vivir en pobreza.

There is a lot to grasp herein, including that high rates of teacher turnover, particularly for African American and Latino children who, as a whole, are also likely to attend high-poverty schools.  Equitable school finance and school integration are obvious implications.  

School districts should also consider growing their own teachers through partnerships with community-based organizations and universities as a way to both grow and retain local talent.  No need at all under this framework to outsource teaching to Teach for America (a.k.a. "Teach for Awhile" or to visa-recruited teachers from Mexico, Spain, or any other country).  Por favor!

Growing our own teachers what I and others are advocating for locally, as part of a nascent, national movement coupled with ethnic studies—both of which are drawing increasing attention and public support.

I was in fact in Phoenix, Arizona, this weekend in the Isaac School District No. 15, meeting with a large group of teachers, administrators, parents, advocates, and ASU faculty because of their desire to grow their own teachers from their own communities in a curriculum that honors their identities by tapping into local history, resources, and opportunities.  They see how centering their reform efforts in their community can help provide stability to an agenda that's less vulnerable to administrative shifts, while of course, simultaneously lifting community voices and local institutions.

We need not only to create pathways into the teaching profession, but also to grow critically consciousness teachers.  Attending to teachers should be so obviously vital to us all, by the way.  After all, the teaching profession is the gateway to ALL of the professions.

Feeling deeply satisfied and inspired this morning as I reflect on the caring and compassionate community in the Isaac School District that I encountered this weekend that seeks a better way.  

Sí se puede!  Yes we can!

Angela Valenzuela

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