Iconic calculus teacher Jaime Escalante once said “Ask ‘How will they learn best?’ not ‘Can they learn?’”
The quote speaks to equity in education, rather than students’ abilities. One look at Marcus Ceniceros’ life and career and you see that he embodies this quote through his commitment to ensuring that students of color have equal opportunities in education.
Ceniceros is the Director of Leadership for Educational Equity in Houston, Texas. The group’s mission is to eradicate the injustice of educational inequity. Yet, if you do a deeper dive into Ceniceros history you see that his role at LEE is really just the culmination of a career spent championing equity for students of color.
Ceniceros joined Teach for America in 2008 and has taught in New Orleans, Chicago and Houston. Each city’s students had one thing in common: “the problems facing students of color or from low income backgrounds were very similar,” he told TFA. So Ceniceros went about trying to address those problems.
In 2016, Ceniceros launched weekly Impact Meetings in Houston to help educators and students build the skills necessary to eliminate educational barriers. More than 500 people have engaged with LEE and ONE Houston, a volunteer community-organizing group. Their work has also led to major policy shifts in school discipline practices that overwhelmingly affected students of color.
“We all have a moral responsibility, whether it’s supporting our undocumented community or drastically reducing the number of arrests of young people of color, to not just speak of change, but to take action toward it.” Clearly, Ceniceros has the action piece down pat.
Photo of Marcus Ceniceros Property of Teach for America