Speak UP has launched a Spanish language website and Facebook page dedicated to serving Spanish-speaking parents in Los Angeles and California. All of Speak UP’s content, including Board Watch, will be delivered in Spanish, and the voices and issues of Spanish-speaking parents will be highlighted in blogs and videos.
“We are excited to expand our outreach to parents whose primary language is Spanish. In a school district and state that is home to so many Spanish-speaking families, it has always been our goal to provide Spanish-language content that will help them stay informed of issues critical to achieving an excellent, equitable public education,” said Speak UP Executive Director Katie Braude.
The Spanish website and Facebook launch follows the expansion of Speak UP’s parent engagement team across all LAUSD Board Districts, including the recent hiring of three parent engagement coordinators who are fluent in Spanish.
With 3.3 million Latinos attending California’s K-12 public schools, Latino students are the majority in the state and make up 80 percent of California’s English Language Learners. Latino students also make up nearly three quarters of all students in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Despite being the largest ethnic group in Los Angeles schools, Latino students still face an enormous achievement gap and showed less than 1 percentage point growth in 2017 compared to the prior year in both English language arts and math proficiency on state standardized tests. Currently, only 34 percent of Latino students in LAUSD are proficient or higher in English language arts, and only 24 percent are meeting or exceeding standards in math. Academic progress for the 25 percent of LAUSD students classified as English Learners also has stagnated the past couple of years. In 2017, only 4 percent of English Learners were proficient or higher in English language arts and only 5 percent in math.
We at Speak UP believe that we can do better, and empowering parents is a critical way to make this change. “It’s crucial to reach parents who speak only Spanish to make sure they know and understand how and why their children are not well-served in our public school system ,” Braude said. “That way, they can organize to demand the high-quality education their kids deserve.”
Speak UP is a grassroots organization that launched two years ago with the mission to give parents a more powerful voice in education policy. We inform, educate and activate parents to speak up in their schools, in their communities, with elected representatives and at the ballot box.