Children's Law Center advocates for Hispanics

An estimated 25 percent of all American public school students will be Hispanic by 2025. In Kentucky, new students with diverse needs create challenges navigating education systems for students, parents and school administrators alike.

The Children's Law Center, Inc., a non-profit organization in Northern Kentucky, focuses its work on educating Hispanic students and their parents on how to better achieve academic success.

"We're looking to help parents advocate for their children," says managing attorney Joshua Crabtree. "We're also looking to connect community organizations and schools to better explain roles and define partnerships."

Recently, the Center issued a brief that highlighted areas of concern for Hispanic students in Kentucky schools. Concerns included access to education, academic achievement and access to interpreters.

Hispanic students are less likely to graduate, partly because of the achievement gap that comes from speaking English as second language. Many people aren't aware that access to in-school interpreters is a right and could be crucial for comprehension.

"The problem becomes 'I understand the math, but I can't understand the instruction,' " Crabtree says.

Parental involvement remains a concern, because many parents don't understand their own and their children's rights, such as interpreters in class as well at school meetings.

The Children's Law Center assisted 420 clients in 2010 and plans to increase that number this year. Crabtree hopes to help strengthen English as a Second Language programs in Kentucky schools, which could dramatically help Hispanic student's educational success.

Do Good:

• Advocate. Spread awareness. Follow the Children's Law Center on Facebook and sign up for newsletters on the website www.childrenslawky.org .

• Run. The inaugural "Where the Wild Things Run" 5k and 10k race takes place Oct. 8. Volunteers and sprinters welcome.

Donate.

By Ryan McLendon

Image courtesy Children's Law Center

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