According to a release from the Washoe County School District (WCSD), Mendoza-Martinez and Vasquez shared their personal stories and advocated for improvements to federal education laws with Nevada Rep. Dean Heller, a representative from Sen. Harry Reid’s office and at the office of Congressman Mike Thompson (D-Calif.).
A total of 27 Latino parents from seven states, including Nevada, were invited by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to attend a workshop on advocacy training and then spend a day on Capitol Hill visiting congressional representatives. Both parents shared personal stories of their children’s educational experiences and advocated for stronger assessments for English learners as well as the increased need to engage parents in the education of their children.
Mendoza-Martinez and Vasquez have both attended MALDEF’s Parent School Partnership (PSP) classes through the Nevada State Parent Information & Resource Center (PIRC) at the Education Alliance. PSP classes help parents to navigate the educational system for their children and receive information about the path to college.
“Luz and Felicitas are true leaders, great representatives for the Latino community in Washoe County and are becoming strong advocates for improved education. We are proud of their participation and partnership to help improve education for some of our most at-risk students,” said Denise Hedrick, executive director of the Education Alliance.
CHSE is a coalition of national organizations representing communities of color that believe high schools should have the capacity and motivation to prepare every student for graduation, college, work and life. The WCSD shares this goal.
“We need to provide all parents the tools to be advocates for their children and insist on a great educational program at every school and in every class room,” WCSD Superintendent Heath Morrison said. “We are aggressively working to improve graduation rates in the WCSD, with a particular focus on our students of color.”