AUSTIN – The Texas Public Charter Schools Association is excited to announce its participation in a collaborative effort between Travis County, Austin/Travis County Latino Count Complete Committee, and Austin Independent School District, as well as the offices of Rep. Celia Israel (House District 50) and Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (House District 51) to increase Latino awareness of and participation in Census efforts.
According to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, “Latinos have been undercounted (on the U.S. Census) for decades, disadvantaging their families, communities, and neighborhoods. Latino children in particular are among the most undercounted populations in the United States. Today, there are 56.5 million Hispanics living in the United States, and roughly one in three live in hard-to-count census tracts.”
As the Latino population in Austin continues to grow and many of these families choose to entrust charter schools with the education of their children, the charter community is uniquely positioned to reach out to these families and help them give voice to their communities.
“Charter schools can play an enormous role in helping the U.S. Census Bureau find hard-to-reach Latino populations,” said Brandon Garcia, TPCSA’s Director of Outreach and Advocacy for Central Texas, who is leading TPCSA’s involvement in the effort. “Not only do our member schools serve a good majority of these families in some of the hardest to count areas, but they often act as important and trustworthy sources of news and information to connect families to their communities.”
Travis County Constable George Morales serves on the Latino Complete Count Committee and said the partnership is critical to making sure all families are counted. "Partnering with all community schools, including the charter schools that a number of Latino/Hispanic children attend, to encourage parents to be counted means making sure we do our part as a community to count all children,” he said. “When we can help educate, motivate and inspire a community to get involved and be counted, that's when we change the dynamics of our future. Our communities deserve to be counted, because we count!"
Austin-Travis County Census Program Manager John Lawler said, “It is important for Travis County to have an accurate census count that reflects the diversity of our community,” and cited the need to engage all community partners and schools who engage with the community to accomplish this goal.
Charter schools across the region have committed to hosting parent meetings, distributing information to families and promoting the importance of participating in the Census across their advocacy and communications channels, and hosting campus events in support of the effort in the lead-up to National Census Day April 1.