STATEMENT on EPISD SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH

December 30, 2020

The children of the Chamizal have directly experienced the negative consequences of previous superintendents’ decisions in Barrio Chamizal. As the highest populated Spanish speaking, immigrant neighborhoods in the city, our school district has a responsibility to ensure the path to success is accessible to children in our most vulnerable populations, too.

As parents, we expect the next superintendent to understand the specific and unique needs of families that face immigration, language and economic barriers. Without these considerations, EPISD will continue to create more problems in our communities, burdening marginalized families further. We demand that the next superintendent have experience in education, represent the population and demographic of our communities and be fluent in Spanish with an immigrant background.

Further, the search should be inclusive and encourage women to apply. In education, women are predominantly always on the frontlines- in the classroom as teachers and in the homes as mothers; we show up for children in masses. Yet, those in power are often men with male privilege who spend their career reconstructing the ideology of public education with little-to-no concern of the ramifications their decisions have in classrooms and communities. We hope EPISD’s next leader embodies and embraces the culture of the El Paso community.

In order to truly ensure civil rights in public education, policies and processes must be created and implemented to provide community oversight and hold EPISD leadership and staff accountable. Title I funds must be more thoroughly accounted for to ensure funds are reaching the students it should. We need a superintendent willing to create these accountability measures.

EPISD should be a model of success for bilingual and bicultural education, but instead the schools in the barrio are underfunded, understaffed, ill-equipped and increasingly less accessible. Previous Superintendent Cabrera ignored immigrant families, dismissed valid environmental concerns and unjustly closed important schools in the barrio. During his time, EPISD created unique programming in schools like Mesita, Chapin and schools highly populated military families, the Franklin feeder pattern, and the Girls Academy, but these innovative programs don’t reach the children of the Chamizal. But more to the point, these types of innovative programs are not created in our schools. EPISD leadership must invest into barrio schools.

Last, the Cabrera administration has not made decisions based on the children’s interest. Our next superintendent must run schools as public schools, not corporations.

For too long, EPISD has ignored and discriminated against our communities, upholding a legacy of institutional racism that has yet to be reconciled in barrio schools for children who can least afford it. It’s time to break from the past and hire a Latina educator to lead the largest school district in El Paso.

Sincerely,

Familias Unidas del Chamizal