“To me, equity in education means that all students have access to high-quality opportunities that teach them the skills and knowledge they need to not only get by but to thrive in their future lives.”
Jamie Gonzales joined New Meridian in October of 2021 as policy and advocacy coordinator. Her role involves keeping a pulse on local education politics and the national landscape and connecting to policymakers and advocates on the ground. Jamie brings a policy lens to support the work of the New Meridian team.
We talked to Jamie and discussed the importance of expanding equity in education, her time in the classroom, and what #MyNewMeridianWay means to her.
What initially drew you to New Meridian?
I am a mission-driven person and am passionate about equity in education. I know high-quality assessments are an essential lever for policymakers, educators, parents, and students. Knowing that about myself and learning more about New Meridian’s mission and work made it impossible for me not to apply.
What personal connection do you have to education?
I worked for a social research organization while in college, and as a part of one of our studies we observed classrooms that adopted a STEM program. During a particular observation, I saw a 4th grader fall through the cracks. The teacher was dealing with a few disruptions and near me sat a student whose first language was Spanish. This student struggled to complete the classroom assignment and as everyone turned in their work, this student crumpled their paper and stuffed it in their desk. This moment reminded me of the stories I heard from my grandparents about them being punished for speaking Spanish in school. I left work that day knowing that I had to do something. Later that same week, I began applying for a teaching program. Every student deserves the opportunity to succeed and that’s why I do this work.
What does equity in education mean to you?
To me, equity in education means that all students have high-quality opportunities available that teach them the skills and knowledge they need to not only get by but to thrive in their future lives.
Which New Meridian value resonates most with you?
I really appreciate how at New Meridian we believe quality assessments are a critical lever for expanding equity in education. Every day our education system promises to provide students with high-quality educational opportunities, and we must ensure this promise rings true for all students. High-quality assessments play an important role in keeping this promise. To serve all students, we need assessment as an indicator to provide valuable data that can inform crucial decisions about resources and program implementation. That’s #MyNewMeridianWay.