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SISD, education advocates stand up for public education at Arms Around our School event
The Socorro Independent School District American Federation of Teachers (AFT) along with Team SISD students, parents, district administrators, and local elected officials, joined a national movement to advocate for public education Jan. 19 at Hueco Elementary School.
The event, named Arms Around our School, allowed educators and students to send lawmakers a strong message demanding more support for public education to benefit students, schools and communities.
“We want to make our voices resonate loudly across the nation to ensure that we protect our schools and our students,” said Socorro AFT President Veronica Hernandez. “We want to make sure schools are safehavens and learning centers free from the threats of racism and bullying.”
Protecting public schools from privatization arrangements and having policymakers invest more in public institutions are also priorites for the representatives at the event. Joining in the pledge was SISD Board President Gary Gandara, State Board of Education Member Georgina Perez, State Rep. Mary Gonzalez, and district leaders and administators.
“We are glad to have the support of our community and organizations like Socorro AFT,” said Lucia Borrego, assistant superintendent of elementary education. “They are here to protect our schools and talk about what a great asset public education is.”
For advocates like Perez and Gonzalez, public schools are a vital foundation for the success of students.
“Public education is the cornerstone of democracy and public schools are absolutely necessary,” Perez said. “Our public schools are leading the state in test scores, performance and closing achievement gaps. This school (Hueco Elementary) is an example of how public education works well for every student.”
For three consecutive years, Team SISD students have performed above the state rate on STAAR exams on all 17 indicators used to evaluate student success in grades three through eight.
“Our district is an amazing place,” Borrego said. “We’ve earned a lot of accolades, have high perfoming schools and offer endless opportunities to our students so they can explore things from auto mechanics, computer science, the medical field and, even, law.”
During the event, Hueco Elementary students stood proud rallying for their outstanding school while holding hands and chanting “whose schools?...our schools!” and wearing paper shields that read “protect our schools.”
“Students need to see that they have people standing up for them,” Perez said. “We are here to protect all of education, all students and all educators.”
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