A woman who could barely speak English a year ago recently stood before a room of peers to share how the success of conquering a second language seeped into other areas of her life. During school days, Raquel Perez, a permanent resident from Mexico, sat alongside her son Brian in his kindergarten classroom at Jones Elementary School. At night, she attended classes as part of the first year of the Springdale School District's Toyota Family Literacy program.
Megan Garcia is feeling pretty good these days. Her longtime wish to give English Language Learners in Salem and around the globe a venue to learn skills using a variety of technologies is well on its way to coming true. This summer, Garcia, the recipient of a Fulbright New Century Scholars Award, will head to the Galapagos, where she'll work to develop a model to determine the most effective way to address the educational needs of English Language Learners through an innovative pipeline to K-12 and adult education and lifelong learning.
In her Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "For the first time in three years, the graduation rate for English-language learners in New York state has not declined over the previous year. Graduation rates for the state released today show that 35.7 percent of ELLs who started school in New York state in 9th grade graduated after four years, up from 27.3 percent the previous year."
The recent dedication rally for a new school on Chicago's working-class Southwest Side drew a long list of political heavyweights, including the governor, the Illinois Senate's top Republican, and some of the mayor's highest-ranking Latino aides. The United Neighborhood Organization, the city's largest Latino community group, is poised to become the biggest charter school manager in Illinois after scoring a $98 million state grant to build eight more schools.
Several hundred people gathered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial this weekend to issue a national call for fathers to become more committed to their children, rallying through occasional downpours and bursts of lightning. Recent census figures show that more than 25 million children live in homes without fathers. Nearly three in 10 white children live without their fathers, compared with two of three black children and four of 10 Latino children, according to the figures.
With a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in marketing and mass communications, Caren McNelly McCormack's job in high-tech marketing was missing something back in the 1990s. Today, McNelly McCormack's decision to leave marketing in 1997 and change career caps to freelance writing is paying off with the publication of her first children's book, <em>The Fiesta Dress: A Quinceañera Tale</em> (Marshall Cavendish, 2009).
The sinking economy has spurred demand for English classes, while at the same time cuts in education budgets have left some of the programs without classrooms, California education officials say. While there has always been a high demand for English classes, recently more students are calling and walking up to registration counters at local community colleges throughout the county, hoping to sign up for one of the hundreds of classes offered during summer sessions, according to education officials.
In her Learning the Language Blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "'The Today Show' broadcasts an interview with Ron Unz, who financed the effort to curtail bilingual education in California back in 1998, for a segment that attempts to answer the question, 'Should education in the U.S. be bilingual?' The show stresses how the Hispanic student population has grown dramatically in this country in places that didn't traditionally receive a lot of immigrants, such as North Carolina."
The Rev. Max Rodas uses the word "familismo" to describe the warm, family-centered culture for which the Latino community is known, even as he worries the term evokes a bygone era. "I think it's changing," said Rodas, the pastor of a Spanish-speaking congregation on Cleveland's West Side. "I think we're a people in flux." That's one reason Rodas was eager to join the recent 2009 Ohio Fatherhood Summit in downtown Cleveland.
Iman Osman, Abdinoor Hassan, and Osman Bashir flashed big smiles as they posed in their graduation caps. Like all members of the Class of 2009, there was a lot of pride when they received their diplomas June 5, but the ceremony was extra special for them. They and Fatuma Hassan are the first four Somali Bantus to graduate from Lewiston High School, said their mentor, Sheikh Mohamed, spokesman for the Somali Bantus of Lewiston, ME.