Iris Maria Chávez

Guest Blogger

Education Advocate and Communications Consultant

Portland, Oregon

Iris Maria Chávez is an education advocate and communications consultant, currently working with national and Oregon focused organizations to advance equity by supporting the creation of just policies, engaging with communities and supporting communications efforts that better communities in Oregon and across the nation. Iris Maria has lived in Portland for just over a year and came to the Pacific Northwest from Washington, D.C., where she worked for over a decade in education policy and advocacy for civil rights and advocacy organizations such as the Education Trust and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

Iris Maria earned a BA in history, sociology and African diaspora studies from Tulane University in New Orleans and a MA in social policy from the University of Chicago, during which she also worked as a social worker in the Chicago Public Schools.

RECENT POSTS

Posted Sep. 6, 2016

Her Daughter Was in ELL Classes for Nine Years and She Had No Idea

I’m an education policy expert, but I know that the real experts when it comes to schools are parents. Recently,…

By Iris Maria Chávez

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Posted July 19, 2016

Want to Help Oregon’s Dismal Graduation Rate? Check Out These Superstar Schools

The latest stats on Oregon’s performance in education are disheartening at best. When it comes to graduation rates, we’re performing…

By Iris Maria Chávez

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Posted July 14, 2016

With These Graduation Rates, Oregon’s Got Nothing to Be Proud Of

People here are proud of Oregon, especially of its natural beauty and progressive politics. And my sense is that if…

By Iris Maria Chávez

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Posted June 22, 2016

Why I’m Not Disappointed Opt Out in Oregon Has Lost Its Steam

Last year, parents, educators and community advocates across Oregon joined forces in a campaign to fight standardized tests in schools…

By Iris Maria Chávez

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Posted May 16, 2016

Helping English-Language Learners Avoid the Summer Slide

Growing up in Denver, my mother made me attend a summer reading program at a public library every year. And…

By Iris Maria Chávez

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Posted Mar. 22, 2016

Let’s Not Think That Because a District Is Largely Poor With Many English Learners That It Can’t Be Great

Although Oregon is mostly white, it’s whiteness obscures the fact that about 33 percent of students in k-12 schools are…

By Iris Maria Chávez

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Posted Mar. 10, 2016

This District Has Figured Out How to Help English-Language Learners

Oregon doesn’t often come to mind when the education world talks about equity challenges; it’s usually overshadowed by bustling California…

By Iris Maria Chávez

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Posted Feb. 23, 2016

Turns Out Ms. Martin and Her ‘Crazy Math’ Program Weren’t So Crazy After All

As a Latina student, my experience in school was one with courses varying in quality—most of them weren’t challenging. Now that…

By Iris Maria Chávez

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Posted Feb. 10, 2016

What Choice Do Portland Parents Have When There Is No Choice?

In all my years of advocacy and community engagement, nothing gets parents as fired up as deciding where their kids…

By Iris Maria Chávez

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Posted Feb. 3, 2016

Luck and Privilege Should Have No Place in Education

Opportunity, access and luck: that’s my story. Thanks to a supportive family, strong educators, access to a few high-quality opportunities—and…

By Iris Maria Chávez

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Featured Posts

Posted May 22, 2020

With a Little Radical Imagination, We Can Prepare Our Students to Become Leaders

Early in the school year, after our daily Pledge of Allegiance, my fifth grader, Cassandra, asked, “Why are people mad when Colin Kaepernick kneels during…

By Joan Hurley

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Posted May 22, 2020

For My Family, Seeing Their First-Gen Latina Daughter Walk Across the Stage Would Have Been Everything

If I were a magician for a day, I would strike my wand and eliminate the memory of the coronavirus as well as its impact.…

By Karen Balbuena

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Posted May 22, 2020

Reopening Schools While Coronavirus Is Still on the Loose Is Ass-Backward

I swear this country is ass-backward. In last week’s Senate hearing, Dr. Anthony Fauci—the nation’s leading expert on the coronavirus pandemic—said outright, “… states will…

By Tanesha Peeples

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