In what some hailed as "a victory" for kids who are still learning English, a federal judge Thursday ordered 100 principals to answer written questions about what kind of services they are providing to hundreds of Chicago public school students in bilingual education programs. The ruling came after federal and civil rights attorneys demanded action on a 2007 report indicating some English language learners (most of them Latino) have been taught in hallways or on auditorium stages, pulled from class to act as translators, or denied special education services.
As major league baseball pulses to an ever stronger salsa beat, most fans see only the rising number of Latin Americans among the batting leaders and in All-Star Games. They do not see the other 95 percent — the anonymous Caribbean teenagers who sign professional contracts, spend years languishing in the minor leagues and return to their homelands without an education. A virtually unknown stockbroker from San Jose, CA, however, has spent 25 years as a silent baseball benefactor. Don Odermann has arranged and financed scholarships for more than 100 young players from Caribbean countries to attend colleges in the United States.
Chicago Public Schools will expand its foreign language curriculum next year, teaching more students Chinese and Arabic and launching Russian in several schools, officials announced Wednesday. The expansion, which will be paid for by cuts in other parts of the budget, will allow officials to hire about 15 new language teachers for 15 schools.
Legislators on Thursday advanced proposals to help poor-performing schools attract experienced teachers despite opposition from teachers unions. The proposal, which will now go to the Assembly, addresses concerns that students at the worst-performing schools are more likely to have science and math teachers who are on emergency credentials or who lack the training, experience, and specialization to teach the subjects effectively, according to state Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), author of the measure. She said students at such schools are disproportionately Latino and African American.
Itzel Negrete and Rukiya Yusuf use a laptop to fine-tune the PowerPoint presentations they'll present for their parents at their elementary school in Kansas. The fourth-graders, students in the school's English Language Learners program, are working on the same kind of assignment that their mainstream peers get, but with an interesting wrinkle: Itzel, a native of Mexico, and Rukiya, a Somalian, will present their work in a new language.
They impressed him with their knowledge of President Bush's Cabinet and ability to give numerous examples illustrating the U.S. system of checks and balances. But it was their tough questions — "Why can't legal immigrants have the right to vote?" and "If immigrants are so important, why are some being sent back out of the country?" — that really got Alfonso Aguilar's attention. Aguilar, chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship, met with 30 teenage immigrants yesterday at Maryland's Gaithersburg High School for a 90-minute civics lesson and question-and-answer session in which the students took full advantage of their right to hold their government officials accountable.
The Florida House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed a compromise that preserves much of the special training for reading teachers of students learning English — but the compromise so displeased the bill's Senate sponsor, who hopes to reduce the number of training hours required, that he promised to let it die without a vote in his chamber. The changes were prompted because some reading teachers have complained about the 300 hours of training needed to work with students learning English, but other teachers have said the special lessons are useful.
The growth of Nevada's Hispanic population continues to outpace the growth of non-Hispanic whites, according to U.S. Census Bureau data being released today. Nevada is sixth overall in the nation in the percentage of its population that are minorities, Census figures show, and it has the fifth highest percentage of Hispanic children younger than 5. As a result, the growth is forcing school districts around the state to shift their focus to English language learners.
Sharon Birnkrant, the principal of H.W. Smith School in Syracuse, N.Y., is accustomed to receiving refugees from countries she knows little about. So when she heard from a refugee worker that a group of refugees from Bhutan would be resettled in Syracuse this school year, she went into research mode. Ms. Birnkrant is among at least dozens of educators across the country getting ready for a wave of Bhutanese refugees expected to arrive in the United States over the next five years, as the U.S. Department of State prepares to interview 60,000 or more Bhutanese seeking resettlement.
Evangeline Skonning got decked out in Dora the Explorer gear Sunday and headed to Illinois' Warrenville Public Library with hundreds of other children and parents. Throughout the day they enjoyed music, chalk art, games, and a special appearance by a life-sized Dora the Explorer during the library's second annual celebration of Children's Day, or <em>El día de los niños</em>.