Parents testify to state lawmakers for more support for families of non-English speaking students

Parents Wednesday asked lawmakers to provide more support to the families of non-English speaking students.

News 12 Staff

Feb 23, 2023, 12:57 AM

Updated 458 days ago


Thousands of parents across Connecticut are struggling to understand their children's progress in schools and what they can do to assist them due to a language barrier. Parents asked lawmakers Wednesday to provide more support to the families of non-English speaking students.
Interpreters communicated the passionate testimony from parents, many of whom say they are unable to engage in their child's education because of a language barrier.
The Bill of Rights that was introduced would protect students in the public school system regardless of immigration status or the immigration status of parents or guardians of the student.
The legislation would allow parents to have a translator in the language of their choice during critical interactions with teachers and administrators such as a parent teacher conference.
If there are more than 20 students in a grade with a dominant language that is not English, the school must be offer bilingual classes.
The bill did get a lot of support in the public hearing Wednesday.
An interpreter communicated their testimony in English after it was said in Spanish.
"I want to learn and advocate for his improvement, but when the school does not have people to speak to me in Spanish or not have workshops in my language, I cannot do anything," said an interpreter for Karem Martinez.
Many local school districts are already working to offer resources for non-English speaking families.
Norwalk Public School spokesperson says 40% of their families say their first language is Spanish and all written announcements are translated to Spanish.
"We just want to make sure that they are getting the information that every other family in Norwalk is getting and they can readily understand it," said Emily Morgan, with Norwalk Public Schools.

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