To the Editor:
As the article “‘Gateway’ Districts Struggle to Serve Immigrant Parents” (Oct. 3, 2012) makes clear, Hispanic students are being unfairly discriminated against in school districts across the country. Many schools are consistently neglecting to provide parents with necessary documentation in Spanish, making it impossible for non-English-speakers to access their children’s grades and disciplinary reports. Not only is this a discriminatory practice, it also contributes to the low performance of Hispanic students on state standardized tests.
By preventing Hispanic parents from involvement with their children’s education, these students are being deprived of a needed resource, as parental involvement is a crucial factor in promoting students’ academic success and engagement with their education. Involving Hispanic parents in their children’s education is one creative way to address Hispanic students’ poor academic performance.
School administrators must take steps to make Hispanic parents feel welcome in the school by providing all necessary forms in Spanish as well as providing adequate translation services for parent-teacher conferences or advertisements for school events in Spanish as well as English.
Hispanic students will make up a large portion of our school systems from now on. As such, their ability to thrive academically is an important issue for administrators. By failing to allow Hispanic parents to be involved in their children’s educations, schools are perpetuating discrimination by robbing those students of an important source of support, thus making academic achievement that much harder.
Addressing such issues is necessary to ensure that discriminatory practices are eliminated from the American school system.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
A version of this article appeared in the October 31, 2012 edition of Education Week as Article Spotlights Needs of Hispanic Parents