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New Arizona Education Advocacy Group Launches

Martin Quezada
(via Facebook)
Martin Quezada

As the future of Arizona’s K-12 education system remains blurred by questions of funding and ongoing political feuds, a group of elected officials want to become a voice for the state’s growing demographic of Latino students.
The Arizona Latino School Board Association (ALSBA) officially launched Wednesday night and aims to be a voice for the state’s Hispanic population.

One of the group’s priorities is starting a discussion about improving the English Language Learners program, said Martin Quezada, District 29 state senator, Pendergast Governing Board Member and co-founder of ALSBA.

Quezada believes four-hour blocks of English immersion classes prevent some kids from excelling in other areas.

“Although they may be English proficient, they are so far behind in science. They are so far behind in history, in all the other subjects they need to be proficient in in order to graduate, that they are being set up for failure," he said.

The association was formed by 11 governing board members from eight school districts.

Quezada said they hope to collaborate with state officials and emphasize education’s role as a service instead of a profit industry.

“We want to be team players in this effort,” Quezada said. “We want to work with the governor. We want to work with the legislature. We want to work with the superintendent. We want to work with everyone to ensure that our issues aren’t lost in the shuffle.”

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.