Hi! I am Daniel Macy, External Affairs Manager for NewMexicoKidsCAN, a nonprofit that advocates for community informed, student-centered and research backed education policies.
Part of my childhood took place in the International District of Albuquerque, NM – an area well known for extreme crime and poverty. My single mother was faced with a complicated reality: location would play an integral role in my education. This is a reality millions of American parents face every day. I was enrolled at Zuni Elementary, a magnet school in Albuquerque, which is open to students from across the city. My mother chose Zuni because it provided me with better educational opportunities compared to the traditional neighborhood school I was assigned to. While attending Zuni I was held back and enrolled in special education classes. However, I was fortunate to have an incredible teacher and mentor, Mrs. Nancy Hill. Whether it was tutoring me one-on-one, meeting with me outside of class, or always encouraging me to believe in myself, having her at that young and formidable age shaped who I am today.
In middle school my family moved to the far Northeast Heights area of Albuquerque which provided me with better educational opportunities. I went to Hoover Middle School and Eldorado High School and due to great teachers, I became even more motivated and developed a thirst for knowledge. In 2012, I became one of the few members of my family to graduate from college and received a bachelor’s degree in political science. In 2020, while working at the State Bar Foundation to help vulnerable New Mexicans gain access to the legal system, I received my master’s degree in public administration (M.P.A). I am a prime example that no matter what your address is or what you look like, dreams are possible with access to quality education. Education is who I am. I would not be where I am today without my experiences in New Mexico’s public schools.
My story is not unique. We have seen over the course of history, individuals overcoming enormous obstacles and ultimately becoming successful. From Abraham Lincoln overcoming immense personal loss and depression to Oprah Winfrey overcoming an extremely difficult childhood, individuals throughout history have persevered and accomplished their dreams. Unfortunately, not all of our children are being provided what they need to reach their dreams. The problem is that not every family has access to quality education for their children. Unequal access to quality education has been a problem in New Mexico for far too long. Minority students and children living in poverty, in particular, are less likely to have access to quality education. This results in limited access to effective teachers and resources critical for future success.
Education is powerful. Education generates knowledge, builds confidence, and shatters obstacles in our path to success. The benefits of having a quality education system are vast. Quality education decreases inequalities, allows individuals to lead healthier lives, and creates a better and more sustainable economy. All children deserve high quality education regardless of their address and background. I am excited to join the team at NewMexicoKidsCAN and I hope that you will get involved with our work to create the education system our students deserve. Thank you!