Immigrant families face additional challenges in remote learning

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2020 has been a difficult year for everyone in the world. The current Pandemic has exposed many ills of modern society this year. One of the problems that has flown under the radar until now is how difficult it is to learn remotely for immigrant families.  

There are many reasons why immigrant families struggle a lot with remote learning. It is  hard to navigate technology and try to resolve issues that arise when devices do not work as they should when you have little to no exposure in navigating this technology or online platforms. In some cases, children whose predominant language is a native indigenous language like Nahual, learning English and Spanish simultaneously is challenging with no support. Similarly, English Language Learners who do speak Spanish still have a hard time adapting to online learning in English. Not having internet access is another widely spread problem that prevents a lot of families from participating fully in remote learning. These are some of many problems that immigrant families are facing with remote learning.  

In order to address these issues LULAC Council 308 in Iowa City is trying to create a committee composed of families, students, community organizations, local community leaders and others.  

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Marlen Joanne Mendoza, LULAC 308 President, indicated that they had sent a formal letter to Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) voicing the concerns of the Latino community and  asking a set of questions about issues that some immigrant families reported they encountered while trying to learn remotely.  

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“This letter [has] the list of questions we had for them based on what the families told us,” Ms. Mendoza said.  

On October 21 LULAC met with ICCSD and agreed on the set of steps to begin with. Both sides agreed to work on creating a protocol on absenteeism and wellness check to communicate to families, bilingual information about resources for technical and online support and sharing job postings to help employ more diverse staff at ICCSD. The main point of this agreement is to create a committee that would establish a direct line of communication between the Latino community and the school district to voice their concerns and requests moving forward

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This committee is currently calling for 1-2 community members to join the school district’s current equity efforts of updating the Discipline Protocols and Procedure (DPP) manual.  Community members interested in joining this working group will look to make this manual more inclusive and ensure it is free from bias. LULAC 308 invites everyone in the Iowa City, North Liberty, Coraville, University Heights and Hill’s area  to be part of this conversation and join this committee by emailing them at  [email protected] . Deadline to recruit members for this initiative is November 14th

It is not clear when, if ever, the things will get back to normal and even if they do remote learning might be here to stay. That is why it is good to have resources in their language available to immigrant families so they can be successful while learning online.

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