Six weeks ago, the Ortizes read in the local paper about a talk in Spanish for Latino parents of children with autism held at the library in downtown Framingham, MA. They were thrilled. Since they moved to Framingham from their native Puerto Rico in 1998 looking for help for their then- 3-year-old daughter Yamilex, they have yearned to connect with other Latino parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). They were disappointed when they realized they were the only ones who attended the talk.
Tony Marcano is the senior editor of NPR's <em>Weekend Edition</em>. In this essay, he writes about the neighborhood where both he and Judge Sonia Sotomayor grew up: "I never thought I'd have much in common with a potential Supreme Court justice. I grew up down the block from Sonia Sotomayor — she was in the Bronxdale Houses, which abut the north side of the Bruckner Expressway in New York; I was in the James Monroe housing project, a few hundred yards to the south."
At first glimpse, Room 10A at Davis High School seems like any other classroom. But a closer look reveals something else. Walls are draped with Mexican maps and tapestries. Standing before about two dozen students, teacher Jorge Herrera jots algebraic equations on a large wall monitor as he gives instruction in Spanish. Students listen attentively before firing back with questions in Spanish. Welcome to the school's CONEVyT portal, an online program developed by the Mexican government, adopted by the Yakima School District three years ago and now gaining converts across the state.
In 2001, Marius "Mimi" Kothor was a shy fifth-grader struggling to adapt to an unfamiliar new culture and keep up with schoolwork at Rochester's Holy Family School. She'd had no formal education before coming to the United States. She could speak some English but couldn't read a word. Understanding mathematics seemed beyond her grasp. Now 18, bubbly and energetic, Mimi is looking forward to her last few weeks of high school. She will graduate with honors from Greece Athena High School on June 27, becoming the first female in her family to ever complete high school.
As the state weighs cutting about $8.1 billion from public schools, colleges and universities, scores of educators, parents, students and others told lawmakers Monday that such reductions would jeopardize student success and safety in the short term and California's prosperity in the long term.
Bridging gaps between cultures and communities can begin with a few words. Within the dual immersion program in Framingham, MA, more than 600 students across the district can share their thoughts, whether they're in the classroom or sitting at the lunchroom table. But budget cuts have meant some significant reductions to the program, forcing school officials to be creative about finding other sources of funding.
In her Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "A policy update about the education of English-language learners in Texas, and the United States as a whole, says that 'after decades of experimentation,' the United States now has 'islands' of effective instruction. The 15-page overview of ELL instruction across the country says that the growing numbers and distribution of such students 'make these islands of effective efforts no longer sufficient for addressing existing and expanding needs.'"
Hispanics now make up 22% of all children under the age of 18 in the United States — up from 9% in 1980 — and as their numbers have grown, their demographic profile has changed. A majority (52%) of the nation's 16 million Hispanic children are now "second generation," meaning they are the U.S.-born sons or daughters of at least one foreign-born parent, typically someone who came to this country in the immigration wave from Mexico, Central America, and South America that began around 1980.
Arizona schools Superintendent Tom Horne has issued a new mandate that will cut the number of students receiving special help with English, kicking up yet another controversy over the state's 150,000 English-language learners. Horne has ordered all schools next school year to simplify to one question a three-question method now used to screen students for enrollment in a four-hour-a-day immersion course in English. That probably will mean more students will be judged as English-proficient.
The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Thursday it is canceling the bulk of its summer school programs, the latest in a statewide wave of cutbacks expected to leave hundreds of thousands of students struggling for classes. The reductions, which will force many parents to scramble for child care, are the most tangible effect of the multibillion-dollar state financial cuts to education. Community colleges also have announced summer program cancellations.