Annually, September 15 – October 15 serves as Hispanic Heritage Month, providing a time to pay tribute to the many contributions, cultures and histories of American Latinos who have influenced and enriched our nation.

Throughout the month we spotlighted members from the Michigan Partnership for Equity and Opportunity – a diverse statewide coalition of leaders and organizations ranging from civil rights, business, civic, parent, and other sectors – and the incredible work they do for students and education equity.

As we celebrate the richness and diversity that the Latino community brings to our society, it’s important to acknowledge the inequities and injustices that Latinos still face in this country, including in education. Nearly 9% of Michigan students identify as Latino.

According to The Education Trust, education equity can level the playing field. Whether it’s recruiting more Latino teachers or ensuring that Latino students have access to advanced coursework, there are many ways in which school and district leaders can create safe, diverse, and welcoming learning environments for Latino students.

Ed Trust-Midwest’s recent brief “Eliminating the Opportunity Gaps: Creating a Truly Fair and Equitable Funding System” explains how as of spring 2023 Michigan was underfunding students from low-income backgrounds and English Learners by an estimated $5.1 billion annually compared to what leading states practice and what research indicates is needed for those students to succeed. Recent investments in the budget are a step in the right direction but we still have work to do.