Latino parents in Los Angeles say they have not received enough information about the Common Core State Standards from the state’s largest school district.
According to New America Media, many Latino parents, whose children comprise about 70 percent of the student population of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), are concerned they have been kept in the dark about Common Core and that the lack of information will prevent them from helping their children be more successful.
“I don’t remember the last time I received anything about the Common Core,” said Veronica Grace, a parent of a student in the Van Nuys High School in San Fernando Valley.
Grace said that while she has heard of Common Core, she does not fully understand what it is or the impact it will have on her daughter.
LAUSD has thus far received $113 million from the state for Common Core implementation, which is now in its third year.
“We’re working on the Spanish translation of the material to have ready for next school year,” said Rowena Lagrosa, LAUSD’s executive director of Parent Community Services. She added that the district will also host math workshops to help parents understand the changes in instruction under the new centralized standards.
Children in California are participating this spring in field tests of the Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced assessment, which must be taken online. The technological issues associated with the new test are enough alone to create concern about potential crises.
As Press-Telegram reports, Christopher Clarke, principal of Arminta Street Elementary in North Hollywood, said, “I sat through the last 45 minutes of testing, and a lot of students had problems, and the iPads were falling offline… But as we get iPads in their hands and they get more comfortable with the technology, things will improve in future years.”
LAUSD officials have told Clarke that his Internet connection will be improved next year, when students must take the actual Smarter Balanced test.
As parents in the district struggle with lack of awareness about Common Core in general, they also worry whether their children’s test scores will drop, as they have in other states such as New York.
Oscar Cruz, president and CEO of Families in Schools (FIS), a community-based organization that assists parents to support their children’s education, states the school district’s outreach to Latino parents has been “insufficient” regarding Common Core.
“The Common Core changes the way parents need to support their children’s education,” asserts Cruz. “Therefore, schools have to invest more in informing parents of these important changes in instruction and how [they] affect the role of the parent.”
Cruz said Common Core’s greater emphasis on informational texts means teachers will be encouraged to have students read more biographies and other non-fiction works. As a result, he said, parents can help their children by “selecting appropriate materials… books that deal with real-life individuals.”
Supporters of the Common Core say the centralized standards will benefit low-income and minority students. In fact, much of the effort toward the collection of student data is being conducted with low-income and Latino students in mind.
Last year, the so-called “architect” of the Common Core standards, David Coleman, who is now president of the College Board, praised the collection of student data via the Common Core initiative.
Coleman welcomed to the Common Core data-collection effort members of Barack Obama’s re-election campaign who, he said, would be reaching out, as they did for Obama’s campaign, to the “low-hanging fruit,” or low-income and Latino K-12 students.