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Bethanne Kim  

Color Doesn’t Matter: Parents Want What’s Best

from the Library of Congress
Enchanted Highway, “The Tin Family.” The Tin Family is part of the Enchanted Highway project. The idea of an Enchanted Highway originated in July 1993. The project features metal art works. It utilizes the welding skills of area residents and their artistic abilities. A number of organizations and groups of people contributed ideas.

Parents want what’s best for the kids. Immigrant parents, including Latinos, know their kids need to speak English to have the best chance at success. Parents of all colors know their kids need to succeed at school. The problem isn’t the parents, it’s a system that intervenes and forces parents to believe in the way The System has decided is best.

At one point, I was curious what immigrants thought about their kids learning English in school. I did some online research and what I found was overwhelming: they want them to learn English in school. They know it is essential for long-term success.

So why is is that their kids end up being taught in another language?

Simplest reason in the world: administrators and educators pressure them into it, with the best intentions in the world. The parents often aren’t fluent in English and probably can’t understand a lot of what is being said to them. Even though they know how important fluency in English is, many may not even truly realize what they have agreed to. Others know, but think they must be stupid because clearly the well-educated teaching professionals are certain this is the best course. And others understand and know they are right, but are so accustomed to being an underclass that is forced to obey those in power that it never occurs to them to fight it.

And what if they do fight it? Have you tried fighting with your kids’ school for something they need? It’s not easy. Now imagine doing it in another country, where you aren’t fluent in the language and don’t really know the culture or customs.

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