About a dozen parents spoke about the needs of Hispanic students at the Evanston/Skokie School Board meeting on Monday night.

The parents, most with children in Washington School, and other community members spoke during public comment in English and Spanish, with translation provided on-the-fly by Board member Sergio Hernandez.

Several parents pleaded with the board to provide more resources to close the opportunity and achievement gaps for Hispanic elementary school students.

Speakers requested more bilingual literacy teachers, more bilingual social workers and more classroom aides.

One mother asked that more attention be paid to the transition from elementary to middle school. She said her son, who had done well at Washington, wasn’t as prepared as she thought he was when he went to middle school.

A student entering eighth grade who had participated in the two-way immersion Spanish/English program in elementary school encouraged the board to expand the TWI program into middle school to encourage better performance.

“We spend more on taxes,” said one parent, “but we don’t see better educational outcomes.”

One mother cited research indicating that bilingual students get higher literacy scores than English-only or other monolingual students.

Both Board President Sunith Kartha and Superintendent Paul Goren thanked the speakers, especially since they had to sit through a 90-minute finance committee meeting, also translated on-the-fly by Hernandez, before they were able to speak at the working board meeting.

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  1. Valid concerns — and a natural result of Board’s poor decisions
    I’m sympathetic to the parents’ concerns and hope that the board and administration will rely on data and best practices to address this important issue. Significantly, however, these parents had to speak up in light of the administration’s short-sighted decisions to create a position for Director of Black Student Success as a result of pressure from Opal and others. In light of the achievement gap among Latinx students, these parents naturally felt that this decision meant that the administration viewed black success as more important than Latinx success. So instead of creating a Director of Minority Student Success, we’ll likely have a Director of Black Student Success, a Director of Latinx Student Success, and so on.

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