There are currently 51,198 Latino students in the Greater Kansas City metro area. Yet graduation rates for Latinos fall below the national average; there are three times as many Latino students as teachers, and Latinos are underrepresented at the governance level.
Revolución Educativa, or RevED, is a Northeast Kansas City-based “advocacy organization working to build collective power in Latino community,” shared Tricia McGhee, the Lead Community Organizer & Parent Advocate.
RevED’s website details their belief that, “in order to truly effect positive change and improve education outcomes, we must come together and give our communities the tools, resources and supports needed to build sustained collective power in Kansas City and beyond.”
The 501(c)(4) organization is an affiliate of the Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC). The LEC’s website details that it “is a nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to retain and increase the representation of Latinx education professionals in K-12.” RevED operates under three pillars to build community, amplify voices and exercise collective power, and offers five programs and a variety of resources. This all supports Latino students, parents and educators.
“Sometimes people don’t share what their biggest concerns are until they feel comfortable with you,” McGhee observed.
Building relationships holds an integral role in the organization, which RevED does in ways as simple as sitting and having coffee with someone.
“We are community built and driven,” McGhee said. RevED largely spreads the word about their organization through word of mouth, although they also do tabling, attend outreach fairs and host events. Their events are always communicated through WhatsApp chats.
RevED’s recent summer series, Educación Sin Límites, worked not only to build community, but to amplify voices and exercise collective power, the other pillars of the organization. The first of three sessions occurred on July 12, and defined educational rights of parents.
According to McGhee, the series was “based on what we see parents saying that their biggest needs are.”
The second session occurred on July 19 and discussed bullying and safety inside schools, and the final session on July 22 was a community talk with school leaders.
“We are ending the summer series with a community circle and leadership panel where superintendents of… local school districts and… board members are coming to a Spanish-dominant event to work with the community members,” McGhee detailed about the final session.
Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools (KCKPS) Superintendent Dr. Stubblefield attended with board member Randy Lopez, and Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) Superintendent Dr. Collier attended with board members Rita Cortés and Robert Sagastume. The programming was entirely in Spanish, with the English-speaking guests wearing translation headphones, “like many of our parents do when they’re accessing events at their own school.”
All of the information from the summer series can be assessed in an online toolkit. McGhee hopes that the summer series will help parents start the school year ready to advocate for their children and their neighbor’s children.
McGhee differentiated between the terms parent engagement versus involvement. She described that parent involvement is “them involved in an activity. That’s not them making decisions with the school district as a partner, or that’s not them advocating for their child.”
Alternatively, parent engagement means that parents are equally viewed as partners in a child’s education.
McGhee emphasized that with parent engagement, “parents and school districts partner together so it’s a two-way, authentic, reciprocal relationship.”
She elaborated that this benefits the school and families, and that students perform better when there is a higher level of parent engagement, and a stronger relationship between families and schools. RevED helps provide resources to strengthen that engagement.
“Parents already have the capacity, but what we’re doing is giving them access to the information that they may not have,” McGhee said.
RevED works to bridge divides such as digital literacy and language barriers. They work on a level as personal as one-on-one support and discussion groups, yet also engage on a national level. For instance, RevED supports and helps parents advocate for legislative change, and strengthens their national impact through their partner, the National Parent Union.
RevED offers a range of support and resources, which are particularly important as the new school year begins. Contact RevED at firstname.lastname@example.org or (305) 906-0644 for more information about resources and programs, and to get connected.