An opportunity to serve: UnidosUS California Affiliate AltaMed’s commitment to increasing access and dispelling myths during ACA Open Enrollment

Altamed - ACA Open Enrollment

Photo: AltaMed

By Stephanie Presch, Content Specialist, UnidosUS

While the 2018 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Open Enrollment on the federal Marketplace ended on December 15, California’s Open Enrollment on its state Marketplace runs until January 31. UnidosUS California Affiliates, like AltaMed located in the Los Angeles area, are working hard to make sure that communities enroll and have access to the quality health care they need.

It’s what they’ve been doing since the first open enrollment period started in 2013.

“We knew that when the ACA was signed by President Obama that this was an opportunity to serve the community,” explains Jazmin Diego, Manager of Legislative & Advocacy Affairs at AltaMed, an UnidosUS Affiliate in Los Angeles, California.

Continue reading

Here’s what you can do today to defend DREAMers

Call Congress - Defend DREAMers

Photo: Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

We just ended 2017 without a meaningful relief package for DREAMers.

This means that every day, 122 people lose their chance to work, to further their education, to own a home, or simply provide for their families.

That will become an estimated 1,400 people per day in March.

So we can’t wait anymore.

We need a Dream Act this month.

Watch the video below and read on to see how you can take action to help DREAMers today.

Continue reading

‘We need to get DREAMers legislation DONE!’

UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía joined U.S. Representative Steny H. Hoyer for a Facebook Live talk on the current state of the fight for a DREAM Act Now.

Today our President and CEO Janet Murguía joined Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland to update our community on where things stand in Congress regarding legislation to protect DREAMers.

The fight has been long and hard, and we still have much to do. But we are in a better place than we have been in quite some time.

We are closer than ever to getting legislation that permanently protects DREAMers. This is an issue that has broad support from both parties. Indeed, the Dream Act has bipartisan co-sponsors and enough votes to pass easily if brought to a vote today.

But January is the last chance for Congress to take action before tens of thousands of DREAMers lose their ability to live, work, and contribute to the only country they know.

View the full video of the Facebook Live session below:

Continue reading

Trump administration’s decision to end Salvadoran TPS takes aim at 192,000 children

TPS El Salvador

Today, the Trump administration chose not to continue Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nearly 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants. Many people with TPS from El Salvador have been in the United States for nearly 20 years.

In early 2001, El Salvador was struck by a series of severe earthquakes. An estimated 195,000 Salvadorans now live in the United States, many of whom fled for their lives during that period of deadly natural disasters.

Trump’s decision to let Salvadoran TPS lapse means that the economy will take a hit from losing nearly 200,000 people who work hard every day in communities across the country. It makes it that much harder for thousands of families to provide for their children.

And Trump’s decision to end Salvadoran TPS means that 192,000 U.S.-citizen children now have to face the reality that their parents might be forced to leave them.

Continue reading

La participación escolar de los padres: desafíos y soluciones

Los padres que participan en la educación de sus hijos juegan un papel clave en su éxito escolar. Aquellos padres que se mantienen involucrados poseen el saber y la habilidad para tomar decisiones relacionadas a la educación de sus hijos. Los padres así fomentan conexiones con los maestros, los empleados y otros padres. Al estar involucrados, ellos también pueden asistir con los eventos escolares, y formar parte de grupos, como la Asociación de padres y maestros (PTA por sus siglas en inglés),  que se encargan de tomar decisiones escolares locales y del distrito. De esta manera los padres aumentan su conocimiento del currículo académico, los exámenes que sus hijos deben tomar, y aprenden lo que deben hacer si sus hijos tienen dificultades académicas y a quien acudir para ayuda.

Es evidente que hay muchos beneficios si padres participan en las escuelas. Sin embargo, muchos padres enfrentan barreras a la participación escolar.

Desafíos para involucrarse

Primero, hay padres que no conocen el sistema escolar estadounidense. Tal vez el sistema escolar de su infancia fue muy diferente o su experiencia con el sistema escolar público fue limitado. Cualquiera la razón, el desconocimiento de sistemas escolares es un problema muy común para muchos padres.

Además, las barreras lingüísticas impiden la comunicación entre los padres, maestros y grupos como el PTA. Sin el apoyo necesario, como traductores, muchos padres son excluidos de estas conversaciones importantes.

Entre el trabajo (o los trabajos), las tareas del hogar y el cuidado de niños –muchos padres carecen de tiempo libre. Por eso, los eventos escolares y sesiones familiares se vuelven prioridad secundaria.

Finalmente, algunos padres tienen miedo de ir a la escuela. Testimonios en las noticias sobre arrestos, encarcelamientos y otras altercaciones con la policía cerca de las escuelas, han causado mucho temor en la comunidad. Desafortunadamente, muchos padres Latinos y padres inmigrantes enfrentan estos obstáculos día a día.. Lo bueno es que hay soluciones.

Enfrentando las barreras

Padres Comprometidos, un programa de UnidosUS, ofrece un currículo bilingüe y talleres que buscan eliminar las barreras que impiden la participación escolar de los padres. Este plan de estudio está compuesto de dos series diseñado para ayudar a los padres a navegar el sistema escolar, comprender los datos y notas de calificaciones, aprender de los estándares académicos y examines estatales, y elevar un asunto al nivel apropiado en la jerarquía académica.

La organización UnidosUS da talleres que enseñan el plan de estudio a los padres para que ellos puedan implementarlo en sus escuelas u organizaciones. Ya que algunos de los padres trabajan para distritos escolares, mientras otros son voluntarios, las maneras de implementar el plan varían. ¿Qué es lo que logra este programa  Eliminar las barreras que enfrentan muchos padres Latinos, dar poder para que ellos puedan tomar decisiones importantes con respeto a sus hijos y elevar las voces diversas, que históricamente han sido silenciadas, en las escuelas y en las organizaciones de padres.

El programa Padres Comprometidos comenzó en 2009 y ha crecido a 54 escuelas y organizaciones de 24 estados por todo el país.

Los padres en acción

A principios de diciembre, más de 25 padres de ocho estados y 11 organizaciones se reunieron para un evento de educación y abogacía latina en Washington, DC. Ellos participaron en un taller donde se enseñó nuestro Plan de Estudio para Padres Defensores, la segunda serie del  Currículo de Padres Comprometidos.

Este plan enseña a los padres como identificar y elevar un asunto al nivel apropiado en la jerarquía escolar, como pensar en las soluciones posibles, y finalmente, como colaborar con el liderazgo de la escuela para implementar estas soluciones.

El taller ayudó a los padres a sentirse más preparados con el plan de estudio. Además, el taller creó un ambiente para colaborar y discutir los desafíos comunes en la participación de los padres en las escuelas. Ellos compartieron estrategias y soluciones.

“Implementen una rifa cada sesión para establecer un ambiente divertido y atraer a padres nuevos,” compartió una madre. “Hagan llamadas bilingües y produzcan folletos cuando hay reuniones para los padres,” dijo otra madre.

Además, una madre compartió una estrategia muy simple para establecer relaciones más fuertes con los maestros en la escuela. “La bienvenida es lo más importante. Una sonrisa grande y una bienvenida cálida vale mucho.” Un consejo simple que deben hacer todos los padres y el liderazgo escolar diariamente.

Parent Engagement: The Challenges and Solutions

A parent’s involvement in their child’s education is key to the child’s success in school. An engaged parent has valuable knowledge that’s useful when making important decisions about their child’s school life. Parents engage by developing relationships with teachers, school staff, and other parents; attending and volunteering at school events; and participating in parent circles that make school- and district-wide decisions. 

As a result, these parents are aware of what their child is learning, which tests their child will take and why, what to do if their child is struggling, and who to go to if there’s a problem. There are multiple ways for parents to get involved and there are endless benefits. However, many parents face barriers to becoming engaged in their children’s schools.

Challenges to becoming engaged

Not all parents are familiar with the U.S. public school system. Whether the education system they grew up with is different from this one, or they have limited experience with public education in general, unfamiliarity with the system is a common reality.

Language barriers can also prevent communication between parents, teachers, and parent circles. Without proper support like translation or interpretation services, some parents are excluded from important groups and conversations.

Extra time outside of work and caring for additional children can be very limited. Many parents work multiple jobs and have more than one child to care for. This causes parent meetings and school functions to become a second priority.

Some parents are even afraid to come to school. Stories of arrests and other altercations with police officers while dropping their child off invoke fear among parents.

Unfortunately, many Latino and immigrant parents identify with these challenges. Fortunately, there are solutions to overcome these challenges.

Removing barriers

UnidosUS’s Padres Comprometidos program, or Parents as Partners, is a bilingual curriculum and training that breaks down some of the barriers Latino and immigrant parents face. The two-series curriculum helps parents navigate the education system, understand school data and report cards, learn more about state standards and assessments, and elevate a given issue to the appropriate level in a school.

UnidosUS delivers the curriculum to parent leaders, some of whom are employed by school districts. Others volunteer in a train-the-trainer format. Parent leaders learn how to teach the curriculum and implement it at their schools or at nearby nonprofits. The result? Barriers are taken down, Latino and immigrant parents feel empowered to make changes in their child’s education, and diverse voices that usually go unheard are brought to schools and influential parent groups.

Padres Comprometidos started in 2009 and has grown to 54 schools and nonprofits in 24 states across the country.

Parents in action

In early December, over 25 Padres Comprometidos parent leaders from eight states and 11 organizations convened for the Latino Education Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. They received training in the second series of the curriculum: the Parent Advocacy Curriculum (PAC).

PAC teaches parents how to identify and elevate a specific issue to the appropriate level in a school, come up with possible solutions, and, ultimately, collaborate with school leadership to implement the solutions.

The Summit provided an opportunity for parent leaders to become comfortable with the advocacy curriculum while discussing how to tackle the challenges in parent engagement. One parent leader talked about the raffles they host at each parent meeting, which keeps engagement fun and attracts new parents.

Another leader mentioned the bilingual phone calls and flyers that go out whenever a parent meeting is approaching. One parent said, “The welcome is the most important part. A big smile and a warm welcome to a parent can really do a lot.” Simple yet invaluable advice that parent and school leaders should be doing every day.

Our community will not forget the devastating impact of the GOP tax bill

GOP Tax bill voteToday Congressional Republicans pushed through a “historically bad piece of legislation” that cements the GOP leadership and Trump administration’s war on children. That is because the party-line GOP tax bill vote sends a massively unpopular “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” to President Trump that  clearly puts the future of our children and our country at stake.

Continue reading