Educators Push for More Latino Teachers

Kitty Kelly Epstein

Libre youth organizer Cory Aguilar and Emiliano Zapata Street Academy teacher Marisol Nuño recently joined communities from all over the U.S. to campaign for a diverse teaching force. Currently, only 6.9 percent of U.S. teachers are Latino, though 22 percent of U.S. students are Latino. Nuño experienced the problem first-hand as a student in Oakland. “I never had a Latino teacher until I was 16 years old,” she said. “Then I had Israel Macias at Street Academy, and it changed my whole attitude about education.” She went to college, earned a credential at the University of San Francisco and applied for a job at the Street Academy in Oakland, teaching the same classes once taught by Israel Macias. She also helps to recruit Latino candidates for Teach Tomorrow in Oakland. The institute organized by the National Association for Multicultural Education sponsored workshops for people around the country to discuss   how to break down the barriers that keep Latinos and African-Americans out of teaching. A workshop by Kitty Kelly Epstein and Fred Ellis helped participants from Utah, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas and other states figure out a plan to deal with costly and biased requirements. The presenters shared details of Oakland’s successful programs for creating political will and support systems. Cory Aguilar works with youth at Fremont High and United for Success in Oakland, inspiring students to love life and value education. He found the national institute valuable in planning how to work to increase the numbers of Latino educators. “The institute provided a space for conversations that need to be addressed locally as well as globally when it comes to education,” he said. “I felt as if I was at the forefront of a new teacher movement that needs to be heard.”  
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