Do you remember your parents reading to you as a child? Maybe on a cold rainy day you curled up in your mother or father’s warm lap, and they helped you sound out letters and words. Or perhaps at night they tucked you in and read you a bedtime story. When you were older, your parents probably checked in with you about your grades and made sure you had finished your homework.
And their most basic responsibility–they made sure you got to school every day, overcoming obstacles of stomach-aches and fevers, the ‘I don’t want to go to school’ blues, breakfast and clean clothes, alarm clocks and transportation.
But what if your parents had never lived this experience in their birth country? What if they didn’t have a vision for your future because they didn’t know one was possible? What if they just needed someone to explain in their own language how our system of education works?
The Salem Keizer Coalition for Equality involves, informs and coaches Spanish speaking low-income immigrant parents so they can become their child’s first teacher and coach for success!
The news about Oregon’s education performance can be discouraging. Oregon has been working hard with the strategic plan developed in 2011 and it has brought solid results, but not fast enough. We must stay the course and each do our part. SKCE’s niche is parents, specifically Latino parents of nearly 40% of the district’s students. One of the huge factors impacting education success is attendance, and parents are the first line of defense.
It includes addressing poverty, health, curriculum, cultural responsiveness, specialized professional development for teachers to support them with new ideas and techniques, and safe and welcoming schools with great customer service. The team must consist of parents and families, schools and districts, business and community organizations, in collaboration. And relationships with parents and families is the starting point. For systemic solutions that truly changes the education culture of families, the community and its schools, parents are the key.
That’s why SKCE has always focused on Parent-led Programs, by parents, for parents.