EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Local group “Familias Unidas por la Educación” will be in front of Bowie High School Thursday evening to call attention to the crisis within barrio schools. The members of the group are concerned that their kids are falling behind academically at schools such as Bowie, Guillen Middle School and Douglass Elementary.

According to member Hilda Villegas, lack of education was an issue even before the Covid-19 pandemic halted school systems across the country. She feels that while other schools were able to bounce back quickly, the schools in the Chamizal neighborhood were left behind.

She explained that while El Paso Independent School District celebrated high TEA ratings, it does not actually reflect how kids are progressing. Villegas feels like if they continue to fail their students, they will not be able to work towards their future.

“Instead of progressing academically towards being at a grade level or not they regress in middle and by the time in high school they drop out well they really don’t have a future what is the only option they have out there to go work at Whataburger to go work at McDonalds which is a minimum wage job.”

Hilda Villegas, Familias Unidas por la Educación

However, according to EPISD Chief organization Transformation and Equity officer Marivel Macias says, with the guidance of superintendent Diana Sayavedra, they are working alongside teachers and more importantly students at all schools in the area to see where they can improve and work together to form solutions.

“Its in every other community and every other feeder pattern that we have that were truly focusing on those individual needs especially social and emotional learning, access to resources access to programs.”

Marivel Macias, EPISD Chief Organization Transformation and Equity Officer

Former Bowie High School student Katherine Villegas expressed that after graduation, she realized how unprepared she was for college based on other students within her environment. After speaking with her siblings who currently attend Bowie and the elementary school in the area, she wants the schools to improve for them so that they do not have the same problems that she had.

“We’ve never really had a stable foundation and I think its about time that we start working on that foundation not only because of people like me out there who have already come out of high school still struggling but I think we owe it to the students of today and the kids of today that are eventually going to be the future.”

Katherine Villegas, Former Bowie High School Student

The vigil will be at 5:30 in front of Bowie high School.

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