Dear Welcoming Community, is your school system rolling in dough?
Posted by Ann Corcoran on July 3, 2016
Are your local taxpayers ready to pay for a “NEW REALITY”—that they must pay for the translation services that the federal government is now demanding in immigrant ‘rich’ towns and cities.
Diversity isn’t strength, but it is expensive!
This is a lengthy story that everyone in towns anticipating refugee arrivals must read. From the Hechinger Report which features Syracuse, NY as its star of story (the city where a Catholic Church has become a mosque when refugee numbers expanded):
The Bhutanese population has grown into a flourishing, tightly knit group of about 3,000 people. They are part of a substantial refugee population from South Asia, Africa and the Middle East that has transformed the city and its schools. Students in the Syracuse City School District speak more than 70 different languages and four of the most common among them are Nepali, Karen, Somali, and Arabic. [Arabic is the number one language spoken by refugees entering the US, see here.—ed]
In 2010, to better serve this population, the Syracuse City school District created a new position — nationality workers — to serve as a bridge between new immigrant communities and the schools.
I’ll bet the federal refugee contractor trying to sell your town a bill of goods (they say the feds pay for everything!), never mentioned this:
A failure to communicate effectively with immigrant parents is a violation of their civil rights, considered discrimination based on national origin, which is prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Without language services, non-English-speaking parents are considered to be blocked from equal access to school information and resources.
As refugees spread out across the U.S., settling in the Southeast, Midwest, and many rural areas that, before, were fairly insulated from large immigrant populations, schools are being forced to adapt to a new reality.
Syracuse is one of the more proactive districts when it comes to providing language access. While it struggles, at times, to meet its obligations, districts in other cities and states have fared worse. Dozens have been investigated by the Office of Civil Rights or the Department of Justice in recent years following complaints that they did not provide interpreters or translated materials to parents who needed them. These schools are in Yuma, Arizona; New Orleans, Louisiana; Richmond, Virginia; Detroit, Michigan; Modesto, California; and Seattle, Washington, among others.
The legal rationale for language access requirements has existed for decades, but the Obama administration has been more aggressive than others in holding schools accountable. [Not surprising!—ed]
While the Civil Rights Act doesn’t specifically require schools to offer interpretation and translation services to parents — or any special supports for their non-English-speaking children – it bars discrimination based on national origin in any program or activity receiving federal dollars. The courts have consistently relied on this rationale to require schools to provide these services, and a “Dear Colleague” letter from the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Justice in 2015 went into explicit detail about what schools have to do to communicate with immigrant parents.
Read it all and get ready Reno, NV, Rutland, VT, Ithaca, NY, Missoula, MT, Asheville, NC, Fayetteville, AR, Charleston, WV, etc. Have you got your Arabic interpreters lined up?
And, you know what is really funny, often the well-paid interpreters are refugees themselves (just as in this story) and the contractors can crow about how refugees find jobs!
You might want to look for other stories here at RRW involving interpreters because there have been refugee criminals who got off the hook because of poor language translation by court-appointed interpreters.
P.S. If you want to know more about Bhutanese refugees (not Muslims), click here, because we have followed their arrival in America since George W. Bush welcomed 60,000 of them in 2007 (we are now probably looking at (at least) 80,000).
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