Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, is calling on the nation's big-city mayors to set up safe havens for immigrants after federal agents arrested nearly 700 undocumented residents in a series of raids conducted over the past week. Child advocates say the recent immigration sweeps and future actions on immigration policy by the Trump administration could disrupt home lives, separate families, and have a "chilling effect" on children and communities.
At 10 years old, Audrey Campos is the one who helps her 18-year-old cousin communicate with their grandparents. Unlike her cousin, Audrey speaks Spanish. That's thanks, in part, to the public school she attends, part of the Camino Nuevo Charter Academy network. Maria Campos, Audrey's mom, chose this school – the Sandra Cisneros campus in the Camino Nuevo network – over other options in the area primarily for its bilingual program. "I see kids whose first language was Spanish but they’re losing it," Campos said. "Right now, we’re living in a country where, if you speak more than one language, you have more opportunities. I want that for my kids."
The Department of Education waited more than a week to send home a letter to Spanish-speaking parents at a dual-language Inwood school about their water's lead levels found during a recent test — blaming the principal for not asking for a translated version. On Feb. 6, parents at the P.S./I.S. 176 campus, which houses Muscota New School and Amistad Dual Language School at 4862 Broadway, got a letter in their children's backpacks that the school had shown elevated levels of lead in a dozen water samples taken from classrooms, bathrooms, kitchen faucets and water fountains — including some as high as 450 times the federal threshold. The letter was written in English — despite the fact that Amistad is a dual-language school and that many parents and students at Muscota speak Spanish.
A push by Republicans in Congress to overturn accountability regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act could have far-reaching consequences for how the law works in states, and the potential end of the much-contested rules is dividing the education community. Groups supporting the move argue that it would free schools from unnecessary burdens, while opponents contend that overturning the rules could hurt vulnerable students and create turmoil in states and districts trying to finalize their transition to ESSA, the 2015 law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act.
Some immigrant parents are withholding their children from Austin district schools out of fear that they, their children or family members may be detained by federal immigration officials after hearing last week that an enforcement operation has been underway in Austin. It’s unclear whether there was an uptick in the number of student absences last Friday or Monday, as the Austin district won’t have numbers available until the end of the week. But representatives with labor group Education Austin said they received word from campus educators saying parents fear they’ll run into immigration enforcement officials walking their children to school, so they opted to keep them home.
Giovanna Munoz Ortiz is a 10th grader at Madison Park Academy, and every day, she learns to code. Her public school in East Oakland, Calif., mirrors the neighborhood that surrounds it. It's nearly entirely Latino and African American. Almost all the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. And, until 2015, it didn't offer any computer science classes. "I had never really thought about it much before," Ortiz, 15, says. "Now that I am being exposed to it, I find it really interesting." Ortiz is one of a growing number of students from underrepresented backgrounds gaining access for the first time to curriculum from Code.org, which gives them the knowledge and skills to pursue an education and career in computer science.
Austin Discovery School office manager and registrar Deborah Freeman dropped off a student at home after school this week to help out his parents, who were afraid of leaving their house — they feared they could get deported if they were to cross paths with the federal immigration officials who had set up shop just a couple of miles away from the school. Wanting to learn more about how she can help, Freeman was one of about 120 educators and other school officials who attended a “Know Your Rights” training session at Becker Elementary on Saturday. The training session, which was hosted by teachers’ labor group Education Austin, came a day after it was confirmed that immigration officials were carrying out a new operation in Central and South Texas to capture unauthorized immigrants with criminal records.
Latino children trail behind their white peers by about 3 months when it comes to math skills, and researchers associate this with increased poverty. But there are ways that parents, caregivers and teachers - as well as policy makers and legislators - can work to narrow the gap.
What is the hidden curriculum? This term encompasses various characteristics of schooling that "everybody knows." It usually consists of a wide variety of social skills, such as interactions with peers and teachers, and includes the fundamental values and beliefs of a school community. This hidden curriculum needs to be learned by ELs in order for them to succeed socially and academically in school. We've all worked with young ELs who didn't wear a costume to school on Halloween or failed to bring cards to the class Valentine's Day party. Many families of ELs may not realize the importance of these events in U.S. elementary schools. Students who do not participate will certainly feel isolated, even if they can't express it. One kindergarten student told me that her mother said, "No Valentines!" Although the mother had seen the notices that went home, she didn't understand the importance of having her daughter participate in class social events.
The New Jersey Department of Education has started a new podcast designed to educate teachers and other school staff who work with English-language learners. Podcast host Kenneth Bond, who works as the program development coordinator for the New Jersey department's Bureau of Bilingual/ESL Education, promises bite-sized conversation about ELL policy and practice. Each episode has run 15 to 20 minutes.