by Jeff Laughlin

News and views from inside the media bubble

Everybody’s talking at me, but I don’t hear a word they say

Advocacy groups groups filed a complaint against Wake County Schools to get the public school system to deal better with parents who have limited English proficiency.

Supposedly, they won. In several North Carolina news outlets, statements from Wake County Schools officials thank the advocacy groups that got involved. Then officials detailed their plans to require translatable materials in system-wide documents, point out access to free translation programs, provide translators for parent meetings and identify families who are having problems understanding system requests.

According to the Raleigh News and Observer, lawyers for the advocacy groups are claiming they have received no copies of agreements to make changes, which shows a further lack of communication with limited English proficiency families.

While communication barriers exist on many planes in education, linguistic and cultural barriers being the biggest usually, an outright lack of communication might be the worst possible outcome.

Wake County Schools’ willingness to participate in communication with non-English speaking parents after litigation shows progress. The second step, that is, actually communicating, might give parents a little more reason to believe the process will begin.