State senator joins community leaders to discuss ways to improve education for Hispanic and Latino students

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There were discussions Saturday over how to improve education for Hispanic and Latino students in New Mexico, who make up nearly 70% of children at Albuquerque Public Schools.

Tamara Lopez spoke with community leaders, who gathered in the South Valley.

“At the end of the day, we want every Hispanic child to be able to reach their dreams,” said Dr. Jennifer Gomez-Chavez, event organizer. 

Gomez-Chavez is one of the organizers of Saturday’s forum on Hispanic education in the state. 

The goal is to share ideas on how to improve learning conditions for the majority group of students in the state.

Teachers, parents, community leaders and state officials were all there to join the discussion.

“We’re not seeing anything happen for Latino students that wasn’t happening before, we need to see some changes in the way we educate our children, and the services we provide for all of our children,” said Dr. Diana Torres Velaquez. 

Velaquez says the main issue is that nothing is happening, and that’s what they’re trying to fix.

Gomez-Chavez says they want more discussions like this to spur change.

“So when we talk about that we talk about equity, we talk about preparation for teachers, culture competencies so that they are able to work well with our Latino students and families,” she said. 

State Sen. Linda Lopez was also there Saturday to hear from constituents. 

“I think it’s phenomenal, this is the energy we need, and what the vision is, is that we take this around the state, so it’s not just Albuquerque. But we need to go down to Las Cruces, Santa Fe, and Taos, Hobbs, Gallup,” said Lopez.  

Lopez says since the Hispanic Education Act passed almost 15 years ago, efforts to improve Hispanic education have stalled – but after Saturday she’s hopeful.

“There’s a resurgence of energy and resurgence of what we can do to support our Latino students, and I believe these meetings were the way to go so that we have engagement and the energy. If we have to change something, if we have to add to the Hispanic education or something, good,” said Lopez. 

The state’s Public Education Department said it’s continuing to work on student equity in response to the Martinez-Yazzie lawsuit.