Kansas City organization focuses on Latinx representation in education

Daisy Garcia Montoya

Local nonprofit organization Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC) is working to increase and retain the number of Latinx professionals in the kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) education field.

Founded by CEO Edgar Palacios, the organization’s mission is to support Latinx students in their K-12 educational journey and increase their academic achievements by exposing them to teachers that look like them. The hope is that with increased representation to match current demographics, more Latinx students will be supported and therefore continue with their academic and professional journeys.

The vision for this organization came to Palacios during his time as a volunteer with Kauffman Scholars. Before creating LEC, Palacios was very involved with multiple organizations and nonprofit work. After spending time with Kauffman Scholars and noticing the lack of Latinx professionals in the education field in Kansas City, he went on a search for an organization that focused on Latinx representation in education.

With no luck finding one locally or regionally, Palacios felt it was important to create an organization that was dedicated to Latinx representation in schools, and proceeded to create LEC.

“It’s a passion of mine because I think the representation of our community is important in our schools,” Palacios said. “It’s important for our Latinx students and non-Latinx students to see that our community is present and that they have power in the education system.”

Data from the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) has shown that the Latinx population in Kansas City has increased in the last decade by 38%, yet Latinx representation on school boards or in education related professions are low. To work on Latinx representation in schools, LEC has three overarching goals: to assist and support current Latinx professors, get students interested in being teachers, and to collaborate with other organizations that have resources to help create a diverse learning environment.

In order to achieve these goals, LEC creates and implements culturally responsive strategies to help retain and recruit more Latinx professionals. Resources offered include networking opportunities such as Evolución, an annual professional and leadership development conference for Latinx education professionals, scholarship assistance, information about other organizations and their resources, and a safe space and support system for professionals to share their experiences as educators.

“First we try to support the already existing Latinx teachers,” Palacios said. “There’s data out there that says that Latinx teachers leave the field after one to two [years] of starting their careers in education, so it’s important to help and support Latinx teachers throughout their career and let them know that they are part of the community, are not alone, and are part of something greater.”

Ivan Ramirez, coordinator of the Avanzando Mentoring Program, a mentoring program for Latinx students at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC), said that for students thinking about joining the education field, being a part of LEC is a must.

As coordinator, Ramirez has often shared resources and information about LEC to students, as well as using some of the resources himself.

“If you’ve ever been a teacher and/or the only Latino in the building, LEC makes you feel not alone anymore because you know there is a larger network of Latino educators ready to support you,” Ramirez said.

UMKC students Victor Michimani and Daniel Garcia-Roman are among those students who heard about LEC through Ramirez and have used the resources to create networks with local professionals and to access professional development resources. Both students said that LEC is important in the community for its work in tackling the lack of Latinx representation in the education system.

“Throughout my entire K-12 education, I had less than five educators in my schools that identified as Latinx, none of those teaching a subject besides Spanish,” Michimani said. “It is crucial we support LEC since it is one of the few organizations looking to fix this issue in the Kansas City area.”

Although the current COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to host regular in-person network events, such as the Evolución conference and others, many events still take place online at https://latinxedco.org/.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Iconic Northeast bakery to close in August

    July 22nd, 2021

    After a 30-year run at Independence and Chestnut Avenue, Boulevard Pastries will bake its last doughnut and fry its last […]

    Paseo homeless camp cleared for safety, City says

    July 21st, 2021

    By Lexi Garcia, Tatum Goetting, Corbin Smith On July 20, the City of Kansas City’s Neighborhoods and Housing Services Department […]

    City Union Mission offers beds in men’s shelter

    July 21st, 2021

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor As a 90-day hotel stay for Kansas City’s unhoused population expired last week without further action […]

    KCU president: Homeless camps ‘an existential threat’ to university

    July 21st, 2021

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor For months individuals have been sleeping in makeshift tents near Independence Avenue and The Paseo Boulevard, […]

    Cuban Americans in Kansas City demand justice during Cuban unrest

    July 21st, 2021

    Corbin Smith Editorial Assistant Imagine a world where preaching in a church, killing a cow or carrying one pound more […]

    Police investigate early morning shooting and robbery

    July 19th, 2021

    Around 5:30 a.m. Monday morning, Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) officers responded to a robbery and shooting around Scarritt and […]

    Police shoot at driver fleeing traffic stop on Independence Ave.

    July 18th, 2021

    Early Sunday morning, just after midnight, Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop in the […]

    City Union Mission announces hiring campaign event to fill 60 MoDOT jobs

    July 16th, 2021

    On July 19, representatives from Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will be at City Union Mission’s Christian Life Center to […]

  • Rough day for motorists on the Avenue.

    July 14th, 2021

    Tuesday wasn’t the greatest day to be motoring on Independence Avenue, especially for the inattentive or distracted. Yesterday morning around […]

    Kansas City Museum helps create Latino baseball exhibit at Smithsonian

    July 14th, 2021

    Corbin Smith Editorial Assistant The Historic Northeast community boasts a diverse population with many different stories to share. These stories […]

    Sala de Arte praises hidden talent

    July 14th, 2021

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor Phyllis Hernandez opened the doors of Sala de Arte, located at 4828 E. Ninth St., on […]

    Auschwitz exhibit at Union Station

    July 14th, 2021

    Lexi Garcia Editorial Assistant The first traveling Auschwitz exhibition opened its doors at Union Station in Kansas City last month, […]

    Missouri health officials say local leaders need to lead virus and variant fight

    July 14th, 2021

    Tatum Goetting Editorial Assistant Missouri’s top health officials agree that local leaders and community representatives must be the primary influencers […]

    Striking machinists find success with help of local unions

    July 13th, 2021

    By Abby Hoover, Managing Editor Unionized employees of a small family-owned company in the Northeast Industrial District went on strike […]

    Northeast News is on Patreon!

    July 13th, 2021

    The Northeast News a weekly community newspaper that serves Kansas City’s oldest and most diverse community. Founded in 1932, the […]

    Northeast students make UCM Dean’s List

    July 12th, 2021

    The Northeast News would like to congratulate Historic Northeast students of University of Central Missouri (UCM) for their academic success. […]

  • Northeast Newscast

  • Faces Of Northeast

  • Remember This?

  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.