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Last Updated: 11/20/2017
 

 Article of Interest - Cultural Issues

Task force plan focuses on education barriers
Associated Press, August 17, 2002

The Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs report is aimed at defining the problems in educating the state's rapidly growing Hispanic population and proposing solutions to legislators and Gov. Bob Taft.  

 

The report is based on national and statewide studies and meetings with educators, students and parents. The commission is expected to approve it in September.  

 

While some of the recommendations sound basic, even obvious, officials say that for cultural reasons, the effects of doing them or not are dramatic among Hispanics.  


The draft report recommends to:

Improve parental involvement in children's education.

Educators and Hispanic leaders say Hispanics often devalue education. They say parents need to become active in their children's education by supporting their accomplishments, checking homework and making sure their children go to school.  

 

Face-to-face communication is essential with Hispanic parents. It also may take repeated contacts to develop trust, and educators must be careful not to make parents feel as if they're being judged.  

 

Schools should offer a flexible structure for working students, because many must help support their families. Nationally, nearly two of five Hispanic students live in poverty, according to the report.  

 

Provide bilingual information and services to families.  


Increase Hispanic enrollment in early childhood programs.

Children who attend preschool tend to do better in school, but relatively few Hispanics attend, educators said.  


Nationally, only 20 percent of Hispanic children attend preschool, compared with 42 percent of whites and 44 percent of blacks, according to the report.  


Establish mentor programs.

Students in such programs during the 2000 school year improved 64 percent in academic performance, 67 percent in school preparedness, 77 percent in class participation and 61 percent in classroom behavior, according to the report. Youths in such programs also are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, be involved in violence and carry weapons, the report says.

 

Increase the numbers of Hispanic and bilingual teachers, counselors and aides, with a preference for native Spanish speakers.  

 

Heighten awareness among school personnel about Hispanic culture and issues.  

 

Turn being bilingual into an asset - for example, use students as teacher aides.  

 

Seek more state funding for English as a Second Language programs.  

 

Provide extra help for students who are falling behind.

Increased data collection on related issues, including tracking graduations. According to the report, Ohio's dropout figures may be inaccurate - many school districts don't collect that information.  

 

The commission also says that collecting additional data such as teenage pregnancies among Hispanics could help identify potential problems.

 

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