By Richard Bammer
State schools chief Tom Torlakson on Thursday met with the top-ranking education official in Mexico to promote closer ties and friendship between California and America’s southern border neighbor, to expand teacher exchange programs, and to help serve California students if their parents are deported to Mexico.
He conferred with Mexico’s Secretary of Education Aurelio Nuño Mayer as well as other government officials and discussed ways California could work more closely with Mexico, Robert Oakes, a spokesman for the California Department of Education, wrote in a press release.
“The national political atmosphere at this time makes it especially important to reiterate the bonds of friendship between California and Mexico,” Torlakson, a former high school science teacher and coach, said in the prepared statement.
As State Superintendent of Public Instruction, he leads the nation’s largest public education system, with more than 6.2 million students at 10,000 schools in some 1,000 school districts. About 54 percent of California students are Latino, and nearly 1.4 million are English learners.