This editorial from the bilingual newspaper <em>El Diario</em> discusses Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed public school budget cuts and their effect on ELLs: "If advocates for communities that have long been disadvantaged are upset, it is with reason. The public schools that are being hit the hardest are those with large numbers of English Language Learners (ELLs), according to the New York Immigration Coalition. A $5 million city cut to a teacher reserve for ELLs would double next year."
How best can we educate an ever more diverse set of kids in the classroom? We actually do have many good answers based on serious research from a whole variety of fields including anthropology, sociology, social history, psychology, applied linguistics, and pedagogy (education). We know that a student often begins at a disadvantage when there is a difference between that youngster's home language and culture and the school's language of instruction and culture. However, this beginning disadvantage for a culturally distinct youngster can be turned into plus for everyone.
The number of Latinos dropping out of high school has been cut in half during the past 25 years, but great disparity remains when it comes to their college graduation rates, according to a study from the Pew Hispanic Center. Richard Fry, the center's senior research associate, said Anglo students continue to be twice as likely to graduate from college as Hispanics.
Bigger kindergarten classes, fewer counselors, and less support for new teachers and English Language Learner programs are among the proposals to cut nearly $11 million from the Escondido elementary district's budget next year. Trustees for the Escondido Union School District must consider an array of reductions, including cutting 45 teachers, 10 counselors, and eight assistant principals, to offset losses in state funding and other factors.
Iowa's West Hancock Community School district held a Spanish Family Night for the first time event last Friday night for Hispanic families with children enrolled in the school. The event brought students, parents, and educators together for a light-hearted evening of fun, food, and understanding. District staff wrote and received a state grant that uses Title III funds, which provides resources to states and local school districts to address the educational needs of English language learners.
An Oregon elementary school held an English Language Learners celebration last week for hundreds of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and children from such nations as Mexico, Vietnam, and Russia. About 45 percent of the students in Harold Oliver Primary and Intermediate come from families whose first language is not English. One mother from Vietnam said about her daughter's participation, "I very like seeing her in school here."
California faces a major economic crisis: a shortage of four-year college graduates. The state stands to produce too few graduates to fuel its cutting-edge service economy, mainly because not enough Latinos attend and complete college. As the student population of California becomes increasingly Latino, these numbers bode badly for the state's economy.
State schools Superintendent Tom Horne would rather appeal a 16-year-old lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court than do right by Arizona kids who are trying to learn English. That's the stubborn response to a federal appeals court ruling Friday that deemed our English-language learning, or ELL, law to be flawed but easily reparable with just two changes.
After the last bell has rung and most students have left school for the day, nearly 30 students crowd a classroom at Washington's Walla Walla High School, where the walls are decorated with colorful paper flags and announcements written in Spanish.
Each Tuesday, the teens in the school's Latino Club meet and cover a range of topics, like hearing from a guest speaker on how to get into college; doing hands-on work on their senior culminating projects; or preparing to attend a youth leadership convention in Olympia and Tacoma geared for Latino students. The club's current officers describe the club's purpose as getting Latinos thinking about and preparing for higher education.
Thousands of illegal immigrants have fled the two states that have enacted tough new immigration laws similar to the one before the Indiana General Assembly. Since passing their laws, Oklahoma and Arizona have seen declines in school enrollments, a scarcity of construction workers, and the sudden emptying of rental homes and apartments. The same, some people say, would happen in Indiana, though advocates of stronger immigration laws say they would welcome the change.