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Educators to Discuss Ethnicity in Schools

About 300 Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander educators are gathering for three days in Newport Beach to discuss the changing ethnicity in schools and other issues.

The conference, which kicked off Thursday night with a reception honoring Latino elected officials from Orange County, will conclude Sunday morning.

The purpose of the meetings is to “educate ourselves about some of the issues that are important to the Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander communities,” said Felix Elizalde, a school board member from the Alameda County Office of Education and member of the caucus.

The event is co-sponsored by the Hispanic Caucus California School Boards Assn., the Asian/Pacific Islander School Board Member Assn. and the Hispanic Superintendents Assn. of California.

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Seminars today and Saturday will focus on a variety of topics, including bilingual education and inequity in schools.

Rep. Esteban E. Torres (D-La Puente) will speak at a luncheon today about using school boards as a steppingstone to political power.

“This is a valuable place to get started in politics,” Elizalde said. “Every year there are an increasing number of Hispanic board members and also a smaller number of Asian/Pacific Islander school board members.”

Assemblywoman Delaine Eastin (D-Union City) will speak Saturday morning on how state legislators and school board members should respond to changing demographics in schools.

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Edward James Olmos, star of the film “Stand and Deliver,” will be the guest of honor at a banquet Saturday night. Actress Rita Moreno and musician Carlos Santana are also expected to attend.

Marsha Mooradian, a school board member from the Del Mar Elementary School District, said it is important for educators to address the changing ethnicity in schools.

“It will save taxpayers money in the long run,” Mooradian said. “If students are not educated now, they will become a burden on the social service system later.”


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