Minority committee urges state education leaders to reconsider revamping its organization

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SALT LAKE CITY – A group of people who have been the voice of Utah’s minority groups for over 30 years may no longer have a say in their academic future. The Coalition of Minorities Advisory Committee or CMAC, represents 5 minority groups: African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, and Pacific Islanders. The 15 member group serves at the will of the Utah State Board of Education but that could all change.

“The initial proposal was first and foremost to dismantle CMAC and then implement some other advisory council,” said Dr. Roderic Land, the Chair of Coalition of Minorities Advisory Committee.

Dr. Land is urging the board to reconsider and keep CMAC intact.

He says there’s value in CMAC that the board has failed to tap into.

“The question then becomes if you have all of these tools in your tool box and you`re not utilizing it to its fullest potential, then how effective could an advisory board be?”

State Board of Education Linda Hansen says reducing the numbers of CMAC members will allow them to be more effective and efficient.

“They`ll actually have more voice than they`ve ever had before,” said Hansen.

Dr. Land is hopefully they’ll find some common ground so they can address more important issues such as the fixing the achievement gap.

“The irony in all of this is that you have volunteers who are fighting to maintain their volunteer status and it shows you the commitment and the passion we have about every student having a chance to succeed.”

Hansen is eager to move forward as well: “The board does not have anybody on it that is anybody but white honestly. We need perspectives from those who are minorities.”

CMAC will learn its fate Thursday when the State Board of Education meets to make its final decision.