After voters rejected ballot measures that would have restored state funding for schools, educators across California on Wednesday braced for $5.3 billion in cuts over the next 13 months. State and district officials predicted increased class sizes, additional teacher layoffs, more school closures and fewer arts and music offerings. Some districts could face insolvency.
Marina Diaz knows each day could be her last when she leaves for school each morning. But that doesn't stop her from making the trip from her home on the dusty outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a key battleground in Mexico's drug wars, to El Paso, Texas, where she attends high school.
In her Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "The top two reasons that immigrant women say they moved to the United States were to join family members already in the country and 'to make a better life' for their children, according to a poll of a representative sample of such women by New America Media. The pollsters interviewed 1,002 immigrant women from Latin American, Asian, African, and Arab countries in August and September of 2008…I'm thinking the findings might be helpful for educators of English-language learners who have a lot of interaction with parents."
Two years ago, computer software engineers at The Media Lab, MIT's innovative technology research center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, launched a new and easy-to-use programming language they called Scratch. Since its launch, Scratch has quickly found its way over the Internet into classrooms and homes around the world, putting the creative power of software design into the hands of everyday users, young and old. One teacher using Scratch is Jeff Elkner, whose students are learning English as a second language.
There's more to speaking American than learning English words and grammar. That distinction is at the heart of Eric Simonson's "Speak American," which City Theatre commissioned as part of the celebratory activities for Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary. Simonson's play focuses on the politics, ambitions, and agendas of everyone connected with an English as a Second Language class for workers at the Homestead mill of U.S. Steel.
On Friday, award-winning author/performer José-Luis Orozco makes his seventh annual visit to the Half Moon Bay Library, where he is a familiar face behind cultural and musical presentations for children. A storehouse of Latin American and other musical and cultural tradition, Orozco is a popular visitor, said librarian Armando Ramirez. He draws more than 300 English- and Spanish-speaking listeners for family-oriented shows.
Louisville's youngest residents are an increasingly diverse group, with the number of Hispanic preschoolers growing the most, according to new federal population estimates. The number of Hispanic children younger than 5 has nearly tripled since the 2000 census, and minorities now account for about 35 percent of that age group, up from 29 percent.
The unprecedented building explosion that peaked in 2005 expanded and diversified Culpeper's population like never before, especially in the Spanish-speaking segment. Although growth has substantially stalled since, in the past eight years, the local Hispanic population grew by a remarkable 319 percent — from 858 in 2000 to 3,597 countywide in Culpeper as of July 2008, according to U.S. Census figures released last week.
Official reports disguise Hillsborough schools' real diversity. Ethnic categories are usually broad, but it's the languages spoken at home that reveal how much of the globe the families of Hillsborough County represent. "The languages are just mind-boggling," said Sandra Rosario, Hillsborough schools' supervisor of programs for English Language Learners. "They're a truer flavor of the cultures, the regions."
At least four large urban school districts plan to spend a significant amount of their federal economic-stimulus money to support or improve programs for English-language learners, a fast-growing group in U.S. schools. The districts — Boston, New York City, St. Paul, Minn., and Seattle — have had varying degrees of success serving such students. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which includes up to $100 billion for education programs, doesn't specifically mention ELLs, and the U.S. Department of Education's guidance for the law makes only passing reference to them.