Long Beach parent and farm laborer Daniel Luna was elected this month to serve as president of the state’s Migrant Education Parent Advisory Council. The council represents 20 regions and more than 76,000 migrant students throughout California.
Back in 2016, Luna won the Parent Award from the National Association of State Directors of Migrant Education.
“I personally feel very grateful for the trust the parent representatives have placed upon me,” Luna said of his latest accomplishment. “I thank the parents and administrative team of the Migrant Education Program. It is essential for students to have a group that can voice their concerns. Due to recent changes in the law, many of our students live in fear and insecurity. That is why I feel that our job as advocates at the state level allows us to communicate with elected officials to promote through public notices that schools are sanctuaries where students can feel safe and protected.”
The federally funded Migrant Education Program is offered by the Long Beach Unified School District and provides migrant students and parents supplemental instruction and numerous services, including after-school tutoring and Saturday classes. Luna and his wife earned their GED high school equivalency certification through the program in 2014.
“I might lack a formal education, but I compensate with the desire to work for our children,” Luna said.
The Long Beach program began in 1994 and serves children whose parents or relatives work in fishing, forestry, nurseries, livestock and agriculture. The aim is to prevent the discontinuity in education that can occur when a family relocates repeatedly due to seasonal work. Such families also are at a disadvantage because most live in extreme poverty, and some students must work with their families.