You are on page 1of 8

Sepa Tatafu Sally Brown ETHS 2430 Research Paper

Helping Mexican American Children Succeed!
Every culture has a problem that they are facing and that does not exclude the Mexican American culture. Upon research I found many different problems that the Mexican Americans are facing for example immigration, gang violence, integration, teen pregnancy, and education. These problems are among other cultures as well but in the Mexican American culture these are affecting the family, which is the most important thing to the Mexican American culture. I found each of these issues very interesting and intriguing, but because I am going to be a teacher I chose to focus my attention and research on education. I decided to do my research on education because many Mexican American children do not know English so they struggle in school or their parents do not know English so they do not get that support from home. I found this very problematic because children are not getting a proper education where they are able to learn so much and when there are language barriers it only hurts them. If the parent/parents do not speak English this is even more problematic because teachers, parents, and students need to work as a team to have success and if there is a language barrier that is unlikely to happen. So I decided that because so many children are not succeeding in school; things need to be done in the home because family is the most important thing to Mexican Americans. I believe that it all starts at home and that parents play a huge role in their child’s education journey so it all needs to start at home. According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2003, one of the most important factors in school success is the extent to

which parents actively participate in their child’s education prior to their entry into preschool or kindergarten. This means that parents need to be doing their job before a child enters the education system to help them do better in school Unfortunately, this is quite difficult for those of the Mexican American culture because many parents either do not speak English, have a low education, or just do not want to work with their child they feel it is up to the teacher. So, parents need to be educated and learn English to help their children have a more successful life; I came up with a plan.

Elementary School Plan
I interviewed my cousin who is a teacher here in Utah at a title 1 school and she told me that her school has classes for parents to attend to help them learn English and they also work in classrooms to interact and help them pick up English. I really liked this idea and wanted to base my plan off of this plan to help Mexican American parents. I decided that I would have classes during the school day twice a week, for parents who stay home, to attend and learn English and common English phrases. After each class parents would go to their child’s classroom to engage with the students as well as the teacher. This would also be a time for the parent to see and learn what the child is learning to help them at home with schoolwork. If parents could not make the classes during the day, there would be night classes for parents to attend to learn the same thing that the day classes are learning. The after school class would maybe take longer because parents are not able to go into a classroom and interact so they would need more help with the instructor. The instructor would be hired by the district as a English-Spanish translator who would come twice a week to teach the parent classes. This would be mandatory for all parents to attend if they are not fluent in English because they need to

know how to help their student because he or she is learning in English. As a reward for parents coming to the classes, the student would get extra credit in class for their parent’s effort and help. If a parent could not do either due to a busy schedule, no baby sitter, or whatever reason, each teacher would be required to have a poster in their room along with an online webpage that included community resources for parents. These resources would be free classes that teach English to everyone and the parent would be able to go and take classes at one of the resources. If a parent chose to go that route, they would need to get signatures from the instructor of those classes to show the school that they are doing their part to help the child. One of the resources that would be listed is the English Skills Learning Center here in Salt Lake City. I called the center to get some information and the lady told me that all classes are free and they have classes for almost every language. Parents can choose to work one on one with a teacher or work in whole groups. The Mayor of West Valley has decided that he wants to help the community unite so he has created places all over the valley for those who do not speak English to attend these classes and learn English. My main goal is to help parents get educated and learn English so that we are able to see higher grades in elementary and junior high school and see more Mexican American high school students graduation. It all starts at home and if we, as educators, work harder to help these parents we will see a huge different in our English language learner students.

Junior High/High School Plan

I understand that some Mexican American families only have students who are in Junior High or High School and that sometimes, more often than not, these students are also struggling; they either drop out or do not graduate. There are many reasons this happens such as no support system, socio-economic status, no value of education, need to support family, or they are undocumented. Again, I focused on the support system, the main one being the family. Many of these parents of junior high and high school students do not fully understand the importance of getting a high school diploma or a college degree. This is why it is up to teachers and counselors to take the time to discuss with parents the importance. There would be three conferences each year that would be required for all parents and students to attend. The conferences would be every two years. For example if the student were in seventh grade; he would have the conferences that year, his ninth grade year, and his eleventh grade year. If the student is in eighth grade, she will have three conferences that year, her tenth grade year, and her senior year. We would start out with a conference with the parents, the student, and the counselor and inform the parents about the importance of getting a high school diploma and a college degree. Not only would their child have more knowledge but also a higher paying job and a better life. Because family is so important the counselor could discuss how it will benefit the whole family. With Mexican American families you are financial help whenever it is needed so letting them know that having a high school diploma along with a college degree will bring in more money that is available for financial support. The student will get a higher position job and have much more opportunities in the “real world” Goals would be set for the student, parents, and counselor. If parents needed

English classes than community resources would be given including the classes at the elementary school. A second conference would be held with the same parents along with any teachers that the student is failing their class. Here more would be discussed about college and more leaning towards questions of the parents or student. Counselors would give any answers he or she knows and any resources that the parents and student can use to help with any further questions. At this conference the counselor would be able to see where the family is standing, their views on everything, and any fears they are having. Once that was discussed, the teacher/teachers would give a report of where the students is standing, what he or she can do to raise their grade, and set goals for that student. The third conference would be just like the second and just a recap of everything talked about in the second. The counselor would find out if they have other questions, how are grades, how is the family standing on the decision of college. The teacher/teachers from the second conference would attend and give another report of how the student is doing. If the student were still doing a bad job the student would be put on probation. Any other teachers would attend if the student were failing their class. Goals would be set for the groups again. We would make sure that the parent is working with the student and make sure that they truly value what the student is doing. Where the student is standing graduation wise would be discussed to make sure the student is on track or gets on track. In the high school, a college night would be held each year during the first semester for parents and families to have the opportunity to be informed about the positive outcomes of attending college. Parents would be informed on the positive

outcomes of attaining a high school diploma. Graduation requirements would be discussed and how that system works. Colleges would attend and have booths where families and students can visit to talk about college and all of the opportunities they have after high school. A financial advisor would attend from any college to discuss what are financial aid, how to apply, requirements, and anything else that families and students need to know. The families and students would be able to have the opportunity to learn more and motivated to take the graduation and college route.

My plan would actually not cost much because the instructors are hired by the district and already have a paying job. One thing that would cost would be supply for the elementary classes. This would include a notebook, a pen, and a pencil and this would cost around $400. A second thing that would cost is the college night. Refreshments would be served and that would be around $300. This would not be much for a school to afford and if a school could not we would ask local agencies for donations to help students succeed.

Possible Areas of Resistance
I figured that the only possible areas of people who would resist this plan would be parents and families who are undocumented. Of course they would be scared to attend classes or conferences but I feel that it would be the teachers job to ensure them that you do not care about their immigration status and that you are only caring about the student’s success. Another possible area of resistance would be a junior high and high school student who really do not care and do not want the high school diploma or degree. It would still be the counselor’s job to talk with the parent at conferences to maybe push the

student to being more concerned about his or her future. The counselor and teachers may feel resistant to join but there would be a school meeting each year at the start of the school year to show statistics of graduation rates and that students really need help and encouragement.

What We Hope To See
We hope to see success within the Mexican American culture. We hope to see it start at home and continue to start at home for upcoming children. WE hope to educate all parents so they can help their child make the right steps that will lead to a better and brighter future. Unity within the community and success in young lives is the ultimate goal.

Hambrick, Quinci. 4th Grade Teacher. Cooperview Elementary School. Midvale, Utah. Interviewed: December 4th, 2013. U.S. Census Bureau. The Hispanic population in the United States: March 2000. Washington, DC: Author; 2002b. (Current Population Reports, P20-535) U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Status and trends in the education of Hispanics. Washington, DC: Author; 2003d. (NCES 2003008)