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Lack of teachers, school board members impede achievement

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

ALL In Education report concludes lack of Latinx representation hinders closing student academic achievement gap The lack of Latinx representation on school boards and within the teacher ranks icontributes to the state’s Latino student academic achievement gap, concluded a report released last month. The report, “MAPA: The State of Arizona Latino Education, Power and Influence,” found that Latinx students make up the majority of Arizona K-12 student population at 46 percent while Latinos represent only 13 percent of school board members and 16 percent of the state’s teacher workforce. “If we are to close the opportunity gap for Latino youth, we need to simultaneously close the representation gap in school boards, administration, charter school boards, state level education boards, and in the classrooms,” wrote ALL In Executive Director Stephanie Parra in a call to action prefacing the report. ALL In is the non-profit organization that authored the report. The achievement gap between Arizona’s Latino students and white students in math and reading test scores have existed for decades but in 2001 the issue was highlighted in report from the Morrison Institute at Arizona State University. That gap has remained relatively unchanged, note Latino educational advocates. The MAPA report cited data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress that found during the past 10 years, Arizona English learners have been particularly left behind. In 2019, only 16 percent of English learners in fourth grade reached basic reading level. In 8th grade math, Latino students trail white counterparts by 23 percentage points on standardized test scores. In 2000, Arizona voters passed an English-only law that prevents English-learner students from receiving any instruction in their native language during the process of acquiring English. In 2019, Kathie Hoffman, the state superintendent of public instruction, called on the state legislature to repeal the law, citing its harsh impact on EL students in getting a well-rounded education.

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