Children with special needs who are also English language learners must overcome significant hurdles to succeed academically. If their parents don’t speak English and are not comfortable navigating the school system, the potential barriers to student success grow even taller.
The Las Vegas Sun reports that since 2004 the Clark County School District has provided the parents of its 8,000 ELL special education students with verbal and written translation services. These services help parents understand the complex federally required Individualized Education Plans (IEP) that outline the personalized goals for children with disabilities.
But the school district has proposed cutting out the written IEP translation services to achieve necessary budget cuts, the newspaper reports. The proposal wouldn’t cut the verbal translators present at parent-teacher meetings, which school districts must provide by law.
Fernando Romero, a Hispanic community activist and a Clark County parent whose son has autism, has spoken out against the proposal. “As a father of an autistic child, I am very upset to hear that they are planning to do this,” Romero told the newspaper. “I know how long it takes to understand the IEP and how technical it is. I’m appalled by this.”
The school district hired a consultant who made recommendations on cuts based on efficiency. In the case of the written IEP translations, the consultant determined that the documents often were sent so late to parents that they were no longer useful. District officials have said they could save $20,000.