Friday, March 7, 2008

Spanish-Speaking Parents: Are You Keeping Up with Your Kids?

By Guestblogger Rena Mathena

After reading these two recent articles, from the Denver Post and the Star-Ledger, I was wondering what connections could be made between the two.

The first discusses the Denver Public School System’s increasing percentage of gifted minority students participating in the “highly gifted and talented” programs. According to the article, schools are trying to include the 76% Latino and Black student population in their special programs regardless of their first language or how many free lunches they receive. This translates to mini-Affirmative Action technique to help those students who may not be scoring as high as white students to also benefit from the special program. Although the figures are increasing, the overall percentage of “gifted” students who are ethnic minorities is only 25%.

The second article from New Jersey’s Star-Ledger described the struggles of the large Hispanic population's struggle to have civil resources printed in Spanish. Spanish-speaking New Jersey residents are in need to bilingual bus schedules, instructions for registering their children for school, etc. If this information is provided in Spanish, the 900,000 people speaking Spanish in New Jersey would be able to take advantage of resources that were previously unknown to them and they would also be able to understand state regulations that were previously posted only in English.

Examining these two articles through a parent-student perspective is easy. If more resources are printed in English and Spanish - as the Hispanic community in New Jersey recommends - more Hispanic parents would be able to understand school notices and the options their children have of participating in special programs, such as gifted and talented programs. With increased parental involvement and support for their children’s participation, the percentage of Hispanic students in gifted and talented programs at schools would increase, giving more students a chance to learn at their greatest potential.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the more parents are involved in their children’s schooling, the better opportunities students will have to learn at their best.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Me parece de suma importancia el que todos los documentos de la escuela esten traducidos, pero tambien tenemos que procurar aprender Ingles ya que esta es una herramienta fundamental para que los padres puedan ayudar y estimular la educacion.