ERIC Number: ED424341
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr-16
Reference Count: N/A
Moving beyond Invisibility: The Sociocultural Strengths of the Latino Community (The Case of Arlington's Salvadoran Families).
Osterling, Jorge P.
This paper focuses on the experiences of Salvadoran refugees who fled their country in the 1980s and came to the United States seeking political asylum during the Salvadoran civil war. The increased number of Salvadoran students in the school districts of Northern Virginia (the Greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area), where more than 200,000 Salvadorans have settled, has had a number of important consequences, especially since Latino students are becoming the largest segment of the school population in an increasing number of schools. This paper discusses the need to focus on the positive knowledge and experiences that Salvadoran parents and students bring to Virginia schools, and the need to look for more creative, alternative solutions to improve their academic performance. It closes with a case study of a family literacy program launched in Arlington (Virginia) by a partnership of grassroots organizations that addresses the needs of Latino parents with limited English language fluency and limited literacy skills. In Arlington, most Salvadoran adults have less than 6 years of schooling, and most are not enrolled in an adult education program. Their English skills are limited, and many hold two or three jobs in an effort to make ends meet. The Empowering Families through Literacy program is a multifaceted program that works with the entire Latino family, teaching adults while providing enrichment and tutoring activities for their children. The project portrays adult students as individuals who, despite lacking formal schooling, have been educated informally by many life experiences and bring a fully developed language system to the classroom. The experiences in acculturation of one particular family illustrate the factors that bring families to the literacy program. Moving beyond invisibility will require that Latino students, including those of Salvadoran background, benefit from educational programs that acknowledge, celebrate, and develop their creativity. Educating parents and increasing their participation in their children's educations will help ensure better education for Latino students. (Contains 38 endnotes.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia (Arlington)