Parents who don’t speak English would have more access to translated documents under Colorado bill

The personalized education plans that spell out how a school intends to support a student with a disability can run dozens of pages and be full of technical language.

And in many Colorado school districts, parents who speak a language other than English don’t see a copy of their child’s plan in the language they understand best until they’re being asked to sign a legally binding final version.

A bill in the Colorado legislature would change that, requiring that final education plans be translated, as also required by federal law, and allowing parents to request draft documents in their preferred language. A separate school finance bill would allocate $500,000 to offset school district costs for translating more documents.

By law, parents are a part of the team that comes up with each student’s educational plan — known as an IEP or individualized education program — alongside teachers and other school professionals. And federal law requires that the final version of an IEP be translated into a language parents can understand.

But community organizers and parent advocates said that’s too late in the process for parents to play their role effectively. Parents need to be able to understand draft documents and information from assessments so they can ask questions and provide feedback to the teachers who work with their children, they said.

Read the full story from Colorado Chalbeat on its website.

Chalkbeat Colorado is a nonprofit news organization covering education issues. For more, visit

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