Monday, February 3, 2014

Offering Business a Free Website in Spanish

We don't get paid until you do!

Advocate Latino is expanding beyond schools into the business community. Watch our video, and contact us to start working with us today!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Start Using Advocate Latino

Sometimes we don't realize how great of an effect communication can have on a person or a family or a system. We have been working with school districts, and things couldn't be going better for them. If they need something, they can just call us, and we can take care of the situation. They don't need to chase around and find a Spanish teacher or another reluctant volunteer to help communicate with the families.

School districts can sign up with us now for free with no deposit or commitment required. The families we have been working with are very grateful because they are not in the dark anymore. They feel empowered because they can be a part of their children's education.

Contact us today at You can call me directly at 715-821-0116.


Friday, June 21, 2013

A Revolultion? Sounds a little lofty, doesn't it?

I have written a few times in various places that Advocate Latino's goal is to revolutionize the way school districts communicate with Latinos and other English learners in the United States. In many school districts, the communication with Latino parents is scattered, chaotic, or nonexistent. There is usually no order to the communication, just people running around, calling at the last minute or not at all, doing the best they can with the system or lack of system that exists.

We think schools can do better.

When I call schools to let them know about our company, people seem to jump to conclusions about what we are. They think we are expensive interpreters, overpriced translators, a useless software company, or maybe a non-profit service. We are none of these. We are a liaison company for schools that do not have the means to hire their own liaison at this point.

We do the following:

1. Provide a 1-800 number that parents (and teachers/administrators) can call anytime with questions or concerns. They can speak English or Spanish with Ary, who takes the calls. If there is no answer, a message can be left, and Ary will call back as soon as possible. THIS NUMBER SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR MEDICAL EMERGENCIES.

2. Create, manage, update, and promote a functional website for Latino parents that includes our phone number and documents we have translated (or documents that school districts send to us that have already been translated). Read more about why our websites are useful for Latinos here. Most school district websites are not useful for Latino parents.

3. Make unlimited two party and three party calls. We don't charge by the hour or by the minute. Interpreting can cost up to $40 per hour. Many times an interpreter is not necessary, but a message needs to get to the parents. For example, we recently called four parents to make sure they sent a form back to school with their children. All of the children brought them the next day. The teacher didn't have to worry about the forms and the parents were happy to know that someone went through the trouble to call them about their children. If something is forgotten by any party, another call can be made with no extra charges.

4. Translate simple documents (permission forms, notices about testing, notices about meetings or events, etc.). We don't charge by the word or page. It's part of the package.

5. Help fill out school forms.

6. Conduct meetings/conferences using FaceTime with no extra charges.

7. Conduct monthly Check In calls and send reports to teachers.

We come at it from the perspective of an ESL teacher. Translating and interpreting companies don't understand the unique needs of school districts. They also don't understand the limitations of school budgets. They are also not there when you need them. We estimate that a school district can use our services for 20% of what they would pay a liaison who they would hire. If a school district uses us, it doesn't need to go through the hiring process, pay workers' compensation, or pay health insurance. If the population of Latinos decreases, it doesn't need to reduce FTE or lay anybody off. Sometimes it is difficult to find qualified people who are willing to work part-time hours. Also, we already have a communication system ready to go, so there is no need to wait for a liaison to learn how to create a webpage or run a database.

Why does Advocate Latino say it is starting a revolution?

If a (small) school district signs up with us, it will be giving Latino parents and students much more than what a large district offers its students. We are also doing it for a fraction of the price of anything comparable.

Join the revolution today! Everyone starts with a free month of service. There is no credit card or deposit required.

Like us on Facebook if you believe in us!

Call me at 715-821-0116 if you have any questions.

Eric Goodman
Owner and Founder of Advocate Latino, LLC

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Our Websites for School Districts

A few people have asked me why a school district would need a website like the ones we create rather than the website it already has. Here is our sample website: Anytown School.

First of all, many districts with Spanish-speaking parents and parents who speak other languages don't have websites that have the capability to display the content in another language. For example, I went to the Lincoln (Nebraska) Public Schools website. Although it has a large ESL population (more than 75 teachers), its website does not have the capability to display in languages other than English.

Other districts have websites that allow for a Google translation of the web content. I went to the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Area School District website. I scrolled to the bottom of the page and went to the area that says "Select Language." I selected "Spanish." There are three problems with this: 1. The parents might not know that they need to scroll to the bottom. 2. The parents might not be able to read "Select Language." 3. They also might not be able to read "Spanish" and select it.

If they do get to this point, and they go to Contáctanos, they end up at this page: Contact Page for St. Cloud Schools. Imagine that you are a non-English speaking parent, who would you call on this page? I also called the number on the main page: Main Page for St. Cloud Schools. It is in English with no options for other languages. The St. Cloud Area School District has 1,100 ESL students. Google translations, by the way, are not accurate.

If you look at our sample webpage, things get much more simple. Go to If you were a parent who speaks Spanish, would you know who to call? Ary, who would receive the phone call, speaks Spanish and would handle the problem ASAP. There are also announcements at the bottom. We can also add forms and other information to this page in case it doesn't make it home with the students. We would also promote this website by calling parents so that they use it. A school district could still connect its site to our site. All of the Spanish on our site would be accurate and written by a native speaker.

Let us know if you would like a site like our sample website. It comes free with the $12/month/student plan.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Two Minnesotas

Update: Minnesota has the highest Homeownership Gap in the country. I will add more to this later. For now, you can read the article: Star Tribune Article. Wake up Minnesota! The rest of the world and the United States is evolving while you stand still and get worse. Arrogance does not solve problems.

I know that I am taking a risk by stealing the idea from John Edwards. To be honest, I never liked him at all. It's a safe thing to say now. I always thought he was fake, and I guess I was right. The point is not to vilify him, however. Most people are entitled to be forgiven. Everyone makes mistakes.

He made a good point when he said that there are "Two Americas." I know that I am also taking a risk because his statement has been beat into the ground by conservatives and possibly others as well. It's old news. It's also true.

It couldn't be more true in Minnesota. Minnesota has one of the widest Achievement Gaps (source: 50can) in the country along with the highest dropout rates for Hispanics and Native Americans in the United States. Minnesota is only behind Nevada for the highest dropout rate for African-Americans. It is also doing a horrible job with Asian-Americans and the Economically Disadvantaged (in the bottom 10%) (source:

When people outside of Minnesota think about Minnesota, I think they usually have this idea of it being a liberal utopia with a great education system. The numbers show it is far from that. One might make the argument that the reason for the Gap in Minnesota is that whites do so well, but that is not the case either. The problem exists because minorities do so poorly.

A shining example of "Two Minnesotas" can be found in a recent Star Tribune article. There is a House bill to be considered that protects coaches from being fired solely because of parents' complaints. I agree with the bill. I think coaches should have this type of protection.

The problem I have isn't with the bill. I have a problem with this bill being brought up in Minnesota. It is the first state in the Union that is considering this bill. It also has the biggest Achievement Gap in the country in many areas.

Instead of going to school boards and complaining about coaches, why don't parents in Minnesota go to complain about the education that everyone is receiving? The most vocal parents probably have no beef with the education of their children because they are represented well and the system set up for their children to succeed. So, instead of complaining about the education of the minorities and economically disadvantaged in their schools, they go and complain about sports.

I understand that every parent wants the best for his or her children. But people need to start realizing how lucky we have it here. We are lucky to be able to have the luxury of indoor hockey rinks and swimming pools and hardwood basketball floors and well-groomed golf courses. The problem in Minnesota isn't sports. The problem is that some students are getting a much better education (an education that suits their needs and their culture--affluent white students) while everyone else is getting a pretty crappy one, according to the numbers.

I might be the first to do it, but I am not going to challenge the parents of disadvantaged students and ask why they don't care about their children's education. I am not going to challenge teachers and ask why they can't figure out how to teach to all students. I am not going to challenge coaches and ask them to coach better, whatever that means.

I am challenging parents of rich, white kids to look back every once and awhile, and maybe extend your hand to someone who needs your support, as you continue to "fight" for your fortunate offspring. You might be surprised by the admiration you get from your children when you do something unexpected.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Future Posts. I think some people won't like the questions I pose.

Please read below to see some of my posts. The one below is from yesterday.

I want to write about these subjects in the future. Please comment now if you have opinions.

1. Do school sports have a place in public schools? I was in a lot of sports in high school. I love sports. I wish I had enough time to be a coach. However, we need to look at this question objectively. Take your kids and your love for the sport out of the equation and look at the bigger picture of closing the Achievement Gap. Maybe sports are part of the answer. Maybe they aren't being used to their full potential. Maybe all groups don't have access to sports, which could be helpful for those groups. Maybe promoting other sports would help close the Gap. I am adding some information here after thinking about this for a day or so. Schools in the United States are now judged on how well they perform academically. Teachers are judged by how well their students do. We are not judged by how well our sports teams do. I know the research says that students who are in sports and other activities do better in school than students who aren't. However, the question is, when do the sports benefit the students' academic performance and when do they have no impact or hurt the students' performance? I am just saying that we shouldn't make the assumption that sports help all students or that the money that goes into sports is benefiting the students who need the most help.

2. On the same token, does music and theater have a place in public schools? Think about who benefits and participates in these activities. Do those with less money have the same access to band as those with more money (due to the cost of the instruments)? How can these activities be made more accessible to all students? Do the programs you are familiar with try to involve all students or do they cater to the middle and upper class? One might say that is how it is, but think of the money that goes into these programs. Depending on the school, it could be two or three more reading teachers. Maybe a good compromise is to add something that would benefit those who do not usually participate in these activities. There is no real equivalent to band, theater, and chorus that is offered during the school day in most high schools. It's usually an easy A for high achievers and something they can put on their college application. What do the students who do not have an interest in this type of thing (or an interest in entering this segment of our culture) have as an equivalent?

My goal is not to push an agenda (other than promoting Advocate Latino). My goal is to try to make public schools work for everyone. I may not have great influence over anybody, but maybe one idea presented in this blog (from me or anyone who comments) will make a difference.

Take care,


Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Education Gap

I read a very interesting article in the New York Times today about the Education Gap ( We all know that children who come from affluent families do better in school. The author did a very good job presenting reasons for this. I am going to take a different spin on it because I come from a different perspective.

I believe that schools can do much more to close this gap, even at the high school level. The first thing that needs to be done is to create a system that really prepares students for college rather than focusing on content classes. Classes should be based on skill building rather than accumulation of information. I know this is already being changed by many schools and many teachers (with the focus being switched to reading and study skills), but I would say a majority of teachers have not changed what they do, and many new teachers are teaching the way their teachers taught them.

How can this be done? I think changing the name of the classes from Biology, US History, or Algebra II would be a good start. In my opinion, every class should be called something like Building Reading Skills in Science: Biology. Maybe a history class would be Learning How to Write for College: US History. All of the content can still be taught along with teaching the standards. We need to stop believing that learning certain content will help students once they enter college or that learning all of this information will build their confidence. If students believe that they can take what they are learning and apply it to any class anywhere, they will do better and work harder. They will believe it is important no matter what the content is. I think that a lot of these skills are taught at home indirectly (reading, becoming interested in a variety of academic fields, and writing college-level papers). Those skills were taught to me by my parents (we were not rich, but we were educated). Also, without the help of my parents, I would have had no idea how to apply for college or scholarships. Schools can do these things without adding a single dime to their budget. It would just be a shift in mindset.

The Gap is also widening between because college credit programs for high school students tend to be more beneficial for white students ( (I know I am running the risk of mixing race and socioeconomic class. I do not intend to say that being of a certain race automatically puts a family into a certain socioeconomic class). However, I would not say that schools should not offer these classes. As the article suggests, opportunities for teachers to be trained on how to teach the courses might be the trick:

"In Texas and Florida, for example, where the state provides funding for teachers to attend summer college courses to help them teach A.P. courses, Hispanic students have a higher participation in the courses and have demonstrated more success in the exams."

In general, I am just saying that just throwing out AP, PSEO, and CLEP as options is not necessarily going to close the Gap. Parents and students from lower socioeconomic levels need to have some other mechanism to help them gain access to and have success in these types of programs. If they are just offered somewhat haphazardly, they become merely another program that widens the Gap. If a school district does the work to think of ways it can get all interested students involved, they become programs that can close the Gap because the students earn free college credit with these types of programs.

I haven't mentioned Advocate Latino thus far. You can go to to start communicating with parents today about college readiness and other school issues today. We have a free trial.

Give me a call if you have any questions. Please leave comments about different ways school districts help widen or close the Gap.

Also, check out our new video. It's pretty funny.