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A new Latino parent poll reveals where their concerns lie

The poll released by UnidosUS and the National Parents Union says Latino parents want education, among other issues, to be the focus of American politics.

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A new Latino parent poll released by UnidosUS and the National Parents Union Poll during the 2023 Annual Conference in Chicago and National Parents’ Day found that Latino parents want issues including economy, gun violence, crime and public safety, and education to be at the forefront of importance for American politicians and policymakers. 

They also strongly support bilingual education, culturally reflective educators, and schools and are not interested in political tactics such as book banning in Florida. Latino parents said they trust Democrats more than twice as much as they do Republicans on issues like education and that both parties have work to do with Latino parents to build trust.

“Latino parents are making it clear to school leaders and policymakers that they must do more to support students in their journeys toward a brighter future,” said Keri Rodrigues, co-founder and President of the National Parents Union. 

She suggested offering more career-oriented classes, further investment in mental health resources, and prioritizing funding for low-income families so they can access additional academic support. 

“There’s no more guessing where Latino parents stand in these key issues– now it’s time to act.”

Other findings include Latino parents, regardless of party identification or income, overwhelmingly support a number of federal actions that including: 

-- 92% support free lunch for all K-12 public school students

-- 88% support funding for low-income students graduating from high school to receive one free year of college classes or career training

-- 86% support funding directly to families to help them pay for additional academic support 

-- 84% support reinstating the Child Tax Credit to give families monthly checks of $300 per child under the age of six and $250 per child age six or older

-- 84% support funding directly to families of public school students to help them pay for additional mental health support for their children (e.g., counseling outside of school)

61% of Latino parents said they want big changes or a complete overhaul of the nation’s education system with 64% saying that their children’s schools should be doing more to help students who fell behind during the COVID-19 pandemic with tutoring, after-school and summer programs. And over 55% said schools need to do more to support students’ mental health.

The poll also found parents strongly value cultural competency, a representative teacher core, and dual language programs.

-- 56% of parents say their child’s school offers a bilingual, language immersion, or dual-language learning program, and of the 26% who didn’t have this option, an overwhelming 78% say they would likely enroll their child in one of these programs if it was offered, showing there is strong demand for bilingual education.

-- 75% of parents agree that it is important to have teachers at their children’s schools whose backgrounds reflect the racial and cultural diversity of their communities.

-- These values are in stark contrast to their views on book banning.

15% of Latino parents think they should have the power to prevent all students at their child’s school from having access to the curriculum. Over 52% say that if they object to school curriculum or reading materials that conflict with their personal beliefs, they should only be able to have their own child opt out.

“As parents around the country get ready to send their children back to school, this poll shows that Latino parents are focused on real pressing issues that impact their children’s development and learning,” said Eric Rodriguez, UnidosUS Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy. 

“They want and expect policymakers from all parties to pay attention and prioritize the needs of Latino students and their families.”

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