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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – This week, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Latina leaders from across the country for the first-ever Senate Democratic Latina Summit on issues of interest to the Hispanic community.  Murray headlined a panel discussion with Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), and Oregon school superintendent Susan Castillo about education and ways to ensure all children can succeed. 

Murray, a former teacher and a key member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, has been a strong voice for improving early childhood education, increasing education opportunities for at-risk youth, and for programs that help students learn about college options and offer them support as they apply for and attend college. 

During the panel discussion, Murray talked about her work to improve guidance counseling and encourage more students to stay in school.  In particular, Murray talked about legislation she plans to introduce that would transform the high school experience for thousands of students by ensuring they get career guidance about the wide range of opportunities available to them, and by giving them a reason to stay in school and graduate ready to compete in the global economy.

“Today too many of our young people don’t see a career pathway that includes them,” Murray said during the panel discussion.  “We need to put in extra effort to make sure they have the support within their community and within the school system, to make sure we don’t lose them.” 

Murray also said that parents must play a strong role in their children’s education, starting before education.  She talked about her work to encourage parents to get involved in Head Start and other school programs.

“I used to teach in a parent-child co-op (pre-school) system in the state of Washington, and empowering parents to be a part of their child’s education, and not just saying, ‘You have to be a part of it,’ but helping them learn how to be a part of it, is a key to our success for all of our young kids,” Murray said.