Educación Sin Barreras NC/ Education without Barriers NC’s mission is to foster the expansion of educational opportunities for North Carolina’s underserved English learning K-12 public school students by supporting solutions to remove the academic barriers they face while advocating for needed services, supports, investments and policy change at all levels.
Educación Sin Barreras NC is a grassroots network of bilingual education advocates that arose in response to the need for greater language access and supports for English learners. Our alliance is a partnership of families, educators, students and community allies communicating the value of bilingualism and inclusion. Together, we work to center the needs of our students and their families and develop a broad base of support for the policies and investments needed for their success. We do this through:
- Community education & engagement We offer bilingual workshops, parent trainings and convene community forums to advance meaningful collaboration between educators, parents, students and advocates to ensure that policy priorities be community-informed and led. We also continually seek to implement creative and practical solutions to address the academic needs of all English learners.
- Advocacy We work to engage our members in legislative advocacy to ensure that community voices and experiences are represented in decision making affecting English learners.
- Communication We work to frame bilingualism as a valuable asset and skill that benefits everyone and strengthens our state. We inform the community about their educational rights, available resources and how they can best support their English learning child.
Educación Sin Barreras NC/Education without Barriers NC was launched in early 2019 in response to the need for greater language access and supports for our state’s steadily growing and underserved English learning K-12 public school student population. We are a volunteer-led grassroots network of bilingual education advocates that aims to engage parents, educators, advocates and community leaders in a statewide network whose members will determine and advocate for local and state-level policy interventions to improve academic outcomes for English learning students. In addition, we will work to support and advance equitable family engagement strategies necessary for their success.
Our activities focus on delivering advocacy trainings, alliance network building, resource sharing and policy advocacy. We work to improve family and community members’ ability to self- advocate and advance both a shared state level policy agenda and communicate local strategies to support improved academic outcomes.
How We Started
In late 2017, bilingual educator and interpreter, Carmin Roldan, approached staff at the NC Justice Center’s Education and Law Project about collaborating to provide community education around the rights of English learning students in North Carolina public schools. The partnership grew and by spring of 2019, they joined with ISLA (Immersion for Spanish Language Acquisition) to help organize a community listening session with Rep. Graig Meyer and over 60 Spanish speaking parents. Parents discussed academic barriers in detail and suggested the types of supports and services they see to be working, namely well-implemented dual-language immersion programs, bilingual school support staff and high quality interpretation and translation services.
From that community meeting, Rep. Meyer introduced H999, a bill designed to assess the funding adequacy of the Limited English Proficiency allotment and direct more funding to support ESL programs across the state. A small group of organizers confirmed plans to hold the state’s first advocacy day for English learning students on June 6th and ‘Educación Sin Barreras NC/Education without Barriers NC’ was born.
We had widespread support with the following partner organizations endorsing our June 6th Advocacy Day:
- The NC Justice Center
- ISLA (Immersion for Spanish Language Acquisition)
- The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights NC
- NC Child
- Latin American Coalition (Charlotte)
- Centro para Familias Hispanas (Catholic Charities)
- El Pueblo
- El Centro Hispano
- Education Justice Alliance
- Students for Education Reform
- EnLace Latino NC
- Save Our Schools NC
- NCDP Hispanic American Caucus
- NC Families for Testing Reform
- Charlotte Parents for Schools
- Hispanic Liaison/ El Vínculo Hispano
- Public Schools First NC
- Comunidad de Durham
- MomsRising / MamásConPoder
- Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County
- Family Services of Forsyth County
- Student Action with Farmworkers
- The Ari Advocacy Center
- Qué Pasa Media
- NC Society of Hispanic Professionals
- Lutheran Services Carolinas
- Padres Latinos Unidos (Durham)
Additionally, Educación Sin Barreras NC, working closely with staff at NC Justice Center’s Education & Law Project will refer certain issues to Legal Aid’s Advocates for Children’s Services, Disability Rights NC, and the Duke Children’s Law Clinic, among other agencies.