I was disappointed upon reviewing the Dearborn Public Schools’ agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, stating that the school district must begin providing increased foreign language translations to parents of district students.
According to the Census Bureau, 141 languages are spoken in the State of Michigan. While the district is now focused on reaching the schools’ Arabic speakers, where will the translation requirements stop? Will the Dearborn Public Schools eventually be required to provide materials in all 141 languages spoken around the state?
As a native Spanish speaker, I understand the challenges non-English speakers face in their daily lives, and I respect the good intentions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act that calls for these translation services. But I also recognize that providing endless translations may not only become burdensome for the Dearborn Public Schools, but it may also prevent non-English speaking parents from learning America’s common language. In turn, it can ultimately prevent parents from most effectively being able to involve themselves in their child’s education.
Instead of using time and resources to provide countless foreign language translations for parents, perhaps the Dearborn Public Schools would consider creating English language classes to allow parents the opportunity to learn the language that will open doors to them.
Mauro E. Mujica
Chairman of the Board
U.S. English Inc.