"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Time Machine Essays-- 20 Things Latino Parents Can Do to Encourage their Children to go to College


20 Things Latino Parents Can Do to Encourage their Children to go to College
By Miguel Juárez, MLS
August 5, 2008

On July 25, 2008, I was invited to speak to a group of mostly Spanish-speaking parents who’s children were part of the Los Angeles Sports Foundation’s “Coaching As Teaching” Presentation at UCLA. I was scheduled to speak to the parents for half an hour but because I structured the session to have a “dialogue with the parents,” it continued for close to an hour. In preparation for the presentation, I contacted Dr. Patricia Gándara, Professor of Education, at UCLA, who Co-Directs, The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles. Dr. Gandara e-mailed me a list of activities that I could talk about in my presentation and she also directed me to her book, Over the Ivy Walls, which I perused before my presentation.

I introduced myself. I told the parents that we were here so that one day your children would be here too. I also told them that many universities still are very White but one day they won't be (zoom in your time machine to today, 2010 when the incoming freshman class at UT Austin Freshman class, was for the first time 51% Latino). This is why we needed for their children to come here. In her book, Dr. Gandara suggests that there is a lot parents can do to support their children’s education. Parents can do the following:

(1) Read, read, read to your children in Spanish, English and other languages.

(2) Have reading materials around—like newspapers, dictionaries, magazine subscriptions, encyclopedias.

(3) Visit your public library and ask the librarians for books for you and your children to read, as well as books you can read to your children.

(4) Let your children see YOU reading instead of watching TV.

(5) Have family discussions at the dinner table.

(6) Discuss an interesting topic every night.

(7) Tell your kids your own stories about your life

(8) And how you've made the decisions you have.

(9) Inspire their curiosity by taking them to the science museum.

(10) Go looking for sea life at the shore

(11) Take walking tours through the city.

(12) Go see Chicano art exhibits or any exhibits.

(13) Go visit museums and look at the fossils.

(14) Take them to book festivals.

(15) Visit a university whenever they can (and other colleges too)

(16) Tell your children that we EXPECT them to go to school, and to a good college.

(17) But you also have to demand good schooling for your children.

(18) Take advantage of adult classes for yourself at your child’s school.

(19) Take an interest in your child’s education—let your child’s school that you are there for your children.

(20) For your children to get here, they need your support so they can stay in school, graduate from high school and go to college, and it can be done.

Given this list, from the Librarian Point of view, I came up with:

20 Things Libraries and Librarians Can Do to Support Hispanic Parents in Getting their Children to Go to College

(1) Sponsor Bilingual Story-time

(2) Purchase Pura Belpre Award Winners for your Library

(3) Send your librarians to the REFORMA Conference

(4) Enlist parents in programming for their children

(5) Invite local writers, poets and artists to give lectures in Spanish

(6) Invite local storytellers (in any language) to your library

(7) Purchase materials in Spanish

(8) Bring interesting exhibits or exhibits of faraway places to your library

(9) Treat Hispanic parents as if they were your wealthiest benefactors—because one day one of their children will have one of your libraries named after them

(10) Make a big deal out of historic events using books from your collection or by displaying posters—Cinco de Mayo, 16th de Septiembre, etc.

(11) Advocate on behalf of the needs of Spanish-speakers in your library

(12) Join the Friends of the Library in your branch of area

(13) Donate your used books to the Friends of the Library

(14) Promote community and neighborhood events in your library

(15) Make the library a place parents and community can come to that adds value to their lives

(16) Smile

(17) Gosh, I need four more :-)

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