Last year, the PEAS (In Pursuit of Equity, Accountability and Success for Latinx Students in MA) Collaborative was formed in response to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Equity Agenda, with a focus on maintaining the Commonwealth’s position in education rankings and ensuring a healthy economy for all. The PEAS mission is to work toward equitable and accountable education systems, institutions and leadership to ensure student success, centering the Latinx student experience to shape, unite, and guide systemic change in both policy and practice. The ultimate goal is to improve education outcomes for Latinx students in the Commonwealth.
This initiative falls in line with ASA’s corporate goal to advocate for systems changes that will improve the college and career readiness outcomes for all students. With Latinx students currently making up 15% of Massachusetts’ school-aged populations, and the fastest growing demographic in the state, it is important that we focus attention on this population in order to achieve systemic change in education outcomes.
With both financial support and in-kind staff time, ASA has enabled PEAS to host several successful public events before and during the pandemic. These events have covered a wide array of topics, including a 2019 statewide conference focused on addressing equity concerns specific to Latinx students and families. During the conference, more than 500 stakeholders in the educational sector attended to hear from the Massachusetts Education Commissioners, as well as national education leaders who are experts in effort to expand higher education outcomes and attainment for Latinx students. As COVID-19 further exasperated racial inequities in the educational sector and beyond, ASA recommitted its support to PEAS, helping to facilitate student and educator panels focused on the impact of COVID-19 on Latinx communities.
True to its intention, the PEAS Collaborative relies on a diversity of experiences. There are 12 Steering Committees, with members representing organizations across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as a variety of educational institutions and community-based nonprofits. ASA is honored to be a part of this incredible collaborative, with Carmen Veloria and Kelsey Barowich of ASA’s advocacy team joining this dedicated group.
To learn more about the important work of the PEAS Collaborative and to sign up for their email list, please visit their website: www.peaslatinx.org