One-third of California's 1.4 million non-native students demonstrated enough English fluency this year to gain access to higher-level and college-prep course work, a modest improvement over last year, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Education. Increasing limited-English-speaking students' access to more rigorous classes and decreasing the achievement gap between these students and their native classmates are "moral" and "economic" imperatives, said Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell.
Oregon's West Linn-Wilsonville School District got a few dings from the state in March after a review of its federally funded program for students learning to speak English. The three findings for the Title III program included improving some teachers' understanding of the criteria for students to enter and exit the program, adding teacher training to better instruct students who struggle with English, and ensuring use of district-adopted curriculum to teach the students.
The number of limited English proficiency students enrolled in Charlottesville's school divsion has risen 16.8 percent over the past year. The school greatest affected by that jump has been Greenbrier Elementary, which received 17 new LEP students this year to bump that population to 58. The fact that around two-thirds of Greenbrier's LEP students are refugees — some of whom had never been in a formal school environment before — made the task for teachers even tougher.
Greeley-Evans School District 6 officials last week got some news they hope will increase graduate rates. English Language Learning students showed improvement or significant improvement in nearly every category and grade level in the Colorado English Language Assessment test. CELA is given to students who entered the district having no proficiency or limited proficiency in English. The assessment, given to 3,600 District 6 students in January, measures how well these students have progressed in learning to read, write, speak and listen in English.
Blanca Paccha wasn't exactly met with an outpouring of encouragement when she first told her family she was thinking about going to college. Concerns about drinking and dating were foremost in their minds. Born and raised in Ecuador, Paccha is the youngest of five children and the first ever to express an interest in higher education. Paccha ended up at the College of New Rochelle because she and her family felt more comfortable with a Catholic college for women. She now is set to graduate, with a job already lined up with the National Institutes of Health. In many ways, Paccha's story reflects the larger picture of Hispanics in higher education nationwide — an issue that has attracted increased interest as the Hispanic population booms and as more students set off on a path previously untraveled by their parents.
Some immigrant children have to grow up fast when they come to the United States. Dorina Arapi, who moved to the United States from Albania as a child, writes how the two hours she cared for her younger brother each day while her mother worked seemed like 200 hours. Also, she says in a student essay featured by an Eduwonk post yesterday that she was looking up words in a dictionary and otherwise perfecting her English while other 8-year-olds rode their bikes and went to the park. "I felt I was an adult before I was a kid," she writes.
A $40.6 million funding boost to help schools educate students who are learning English isn't adding up for Patricia Marsh, a school superintendent in southern Arizona. The legislation approved this month means Marsh will get more money. But she says it's not enough to implement the state mandates that go with the funding, particularly a requirement that so-called English Language Learners should be separated from other students for daily four-hour immersion periods.
In this column for the Los Angles Times, contributing editor Gustavo Arellano writes, "Last week, Fullerton City Councilman Shawn Nelson stated during a council meeting that the city should remove a set of 1970s-era murals on a pedestrian overpass spanning a stretch of Lemon Street just south of Valencia Drive. Nelson claimed that the depictions — classic lowriders, sultry girls in sombreros and fedoras, stylish <em>pachucos</em>, and the Virgin of Guadalupe — might make people think Fullerton sanctions gang activity…(but the murals are) important in reminding county residents of its Mexican American past, one that saw immigrants anonymously harvest O.C.'s lucrative citrus crop while being forced to live in segregated neighborhoods, an aspect of county history that's largely absent from any official narratives."
Some students from Thailand continue to learn about the U.S. firsthand in an exchange program offered at Wisconsin's Wausau West High School. Five Thai students and a teacher arrived in Wisconsin on April 11 for a 2 1/2 week stay as part of the Thailand-Wisconsin International Sunrise Program. One student was surprised to see small class discussions and teachers looking for student input. In Thailand, his school has an average class size of 55 students.
AT&T Inc. today announced plans to commit $100 million over four years to help reduce the dropout rate in U.S. high schools and better prepare students for college and the workforce. The effort is being billed as the company's largest single philanthropic commitment to date.