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HF Hosts Annual Hispanic Education Summit

For the fifth consecutive year, Hispanic Federation gathered some of New York City's most important education leaders at the CUNY Graduate Center as part of the Hispanic Education Summit. This year, the event welcomed over 400 participants and brought speakers from across the state and nation to share their experience and expertise on key education policy issues affecting the Latino community.

The day kicked off with welcoming remarks from Dr. Joy Connolly, Provost and Senior Vice President of The Graduate Center at CUNY. Angelica Infante-Green, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Instructional Support at the New York State Education Department then took the stage as the featured morning speaker. Infante-Green provided an overview of the state of education in NYS, highlighting Latino and English Language Learner performance. She then shared policies that are being implemented to help close the achievement gap for Latino students.

A plenary session featuring three Latino college presidents, Dr. Jose Luis Cruz, President of Lehman College, Dr. Felix Matos Rodriguez, President of Queens College, and Dr. Eduardo Padrón of Miami Dade College then followed. The conversation included topics ranging from factors to college completion to increasing diversity in higher education leadership.

The highlight of the day was the luncheon keynote speaker, Richard Carranza, Chancellor of New York City Schools. Chancellor Carranza spoke off-script for forty minutes on everything from the challenges of English Language Learners, desegregation of New York City schools and the elimination of the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), and his belief in public school education.

“Having Chancellor Carranza join us was really powerful,” said Hispanic Federation President José Calderón. “He understands, from deep personal experience, the transformative power of a quality education for children and I think that personal perspective and experience means he’ll demand the same of our schools that our parents do. He knows what’s at stake for our community in every single classroom in this city.”

In addition to the speakers, Hispanic Federation organized six workshops throughout the day, featuring topics that are current and critical to the Latino education issues including: improving ELL outcome and opportunities, increasing pathways to college, desegregating NYC schools, increasing parents empowerment, improving college retention rates, and increasing career readiness.

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, wrapped up the day with remarks at the closing reception. She highlighted a new initiative by the AFT in partnership with Hispanic Federation and other civil rights groups to protect immigrant students and their families against discrimination. The initiative works to provide training and resources to schools about the legal right of students to receive a public school education, regardless of status, and to inform the community about their rights in regards to this issue.

“I think this project with AFT couldn’t happen at a more urgent time for immigrant parents,” Calderón said. “They need to know that their children are safe from immigration enforcement actions while they’re at school. And it’s also a good time to remind teachers and administrators that they play a vital role in keeping families together, despite the best efforts of the Trump Administration.”