In this month that we celebrate Hispanidad, we want to applaud the work that Hispanic mothers are doing in order to advance the education of their children. In the majority of Spanish-speaking households, it is the mother who takes care of the schoolwork for her sons and daughters. And they are the ones who are (almost always) talking to the teachers, opening the backpacks, inquiring about the behavior of the children and looking for solutions to the challenges that school life presents them. Who knows a child better than his mother?
The mother watches, questions, advocates, fights, and decides for the well-being of her family and for her offspring to flourish and prosper. My mother is one of those who did not take no for an answer. He understood that the greatest treasure he could leave us was a good education. And that’s why he moved heaven and earth so that my little sister and I could attend high-quality schools. He not only cared that we could learn to read and write, but that we learn those values that form the pillars of a human being capable of feeling humanity and living with respect, kindness and a clear moral compass.
Had it not been for my mother’s careers, I would never have been able to access the level of training that I received and whose main function has been to open the doors of many professional and experiential opportunities. I owe a large part of the best of my life to the foundations that this training gave me.
And just like my mom did, right now there are millions of Latina mothers doing a commendable job to make sure their children’s future is secured through education.
These are the nonconformists, the inquisitors, those who know that no one comes to the rescue of their children with the impetus and passion that they do. These mothers are the ones who are responding in the surveys that they want more, that their children deserve more, that the system has to give more and that the responsibility of educating each of their children should not fall on the shoulders of a single system.
Hence, when surveyed, Hispanics along with millennials and Afro-descendant families say they support in figures over 70% the idea of school options, whose purpose is to supply the students of this country with a plurality of alternatives that adjust to the strengths and needs of their children.
The concept is not new. In states like Wisconsin, the coexistence of various models of school options has been in place for 30 years. In Florida, almost 20 years. However, in the rest of the country, programs of this type are still conspicuous by their absence. In Tennessee, a verdict has just been issued to overturn a new Education Savings Accounts (ESA) program. In Nevada, the ruling leadership wiped off the map a law dating from 2015 that created universal access to free choice of schools through ESAs.
In response to systematic opposition from the teachers’ union, Hispanic mothers are mobilizing to go out and vote. Their goal is to put in positions of power those who, like them, believe that one size does not fit all of our Latino children. Thus, the Hispanic vote, as was the Rust Belt workers vote, during the elections four years ago, should not be taken for granted.
-Hergit Llenas is an activist, writer and director of Hispanic Participation for The American Federation for Children