A steady influx of immigrants has fueled the need for teachers with English-language-learner training, state and local districts say. ELL students made up 9 percent of the students in the state in 2006, up from 3.5 percent in 1990, according to a recent report. The demand for ELL teachers is greatest in districts in Eastern Washington, where, in some schools, more than half the students are Hispanic.
On Friday morning, a first-grader at Johnson Elementary School read a book aloud by himself for the first time. As an English-language acquisition student, this student's first language is not English, and he started his first-grade year at Johnson with less than a kindergarten reading level. It's the sort of improvement that Colorado's Poudre School District is looking for as it tries to boost the percentage of third-graders who read at grade level or beyond. The school's principal attributed the gains that first-grader has made, as well as reading improvements throughout the school, to an increased emphasis this year on individual and small-group reading sessions for all grade levels.
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.