Stefanie Phillips weighs in on the 2020 census at meeting of the Orange County Chapter of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials

May 2018

The Voice of OC featured an editorial about a meeting of the Orange County chapter of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) which convened to discuss a 2016 policy brief titled, The Invisible Ones: How Latino Children are Left Out of Our Nation’s Census Count. Stefanie Phillips, Superintendent of Santa Ana Unified School District and California Collaborative on District Reform member, attended the meeting along with politicians and civic leaders. The discussion raised the issue that over 400,000 Latino children under the age of 5 years old were uncounted in the last census. This issue is especially pertinent in the Orange County area, in which 15,000 of those uncounted  children live. Phillips addressed the importance of counting all children in the census and the effect that not counting these children has on the education system. This conversation is timely as the federal government considers including a question in the 2020 census about citizenship status. Some argue that this policy change could discourage nearly 25 million people from answering the 2020 census, which among other decisions, helps districts budget for teachers and school construction. At the NALEO meeting, Phillips stated that the accurate counting of children impacts funding to address achievement gaps in their school communities: “If we are not counted, we won’t be considered.”