As the state weighs cutting about $8.1 billion from public schools, colleges and universities, scores of educators, parents, students and others told lawmakers Monday that such reductions would jeopardize student success and safety in the short term and California's prosperity in the long term.
Bridging gaps between cultures and communities can begin with a few words. Within the dual immersion program in Framingham, MA, more than 600 students across the district can share their thoughts, whether they're in the classroom or sitting at the lunchroom table. But budget cuts have meant some significant reductions to the program, forcing school officials to be creative about finding other sources of funding.
In her Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "A policy update about the education of English-language learners in Texas, and the United States as a whole, says that 'after decades of experimentation,' the United States now has 'islands' of effective instruction. The 15-page overview of ELL instruction across the country says that the growing numbers and distribution of such students 'make these islands of effective efforts no longer sufficient for addressing existing and expanding needs.'"
Hispanics now make up 22% of all children under the age of 18 in the United States — up from 9% in 1980 — and as their numbers have grown, their demographic profile has changed. A majority (52%) of the nation's 16 million Hispanic children are now "second generation," meaning they are the U.S.-born sons or daughters of at least one foreign-born parent, typically someone who came to this country in the immigration wave from Mexico, Central America, and South America that began around 1980.
Arizona schools Superintendent Tom Horne has issued a new mandate that will cut the number of students receiving special help with English, kicking up yet another controversy over the state's 150,000 English-language learners. Horne has ordered all schools next school year to simplify to one question a three-question method now used to screen students for enrollment in a four-hour-a-day immersion course in English. That probably will mean more students will be judged as English-proficient.
The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Thursday it is canceling the bulk of its summer school programs, the latest in a statewide wave of cutbacks expected to leave hundreds of thousands of students struggling for classes. The reductions, which will force many parents to scramble for child care, are the most tangible effect of the multibillion-dollar state financial cuts to education. Community colleges also have announced summer program cancellations.
Pennsylvania teens Marlo Johnson and Emmanuel Garcia had big dreams. Marlo was accepted at a liberal arts college. Emmanuel planned on being the first in his family to go to college. The credit crisis changed all that. Claudio Sanchez spent a year with them as they scrambled to pay for college in a recession.
English-language learners have the lowest scores on the California Exit Exam and the lowest rates of college attendance in the state. Zhuanyi Deng hopes to change all that. Deng is part of a group of Cantonese-speaking low-income students who went to high school largely unaware that they had to take a certain set of courses to be eligible to attend the University of California or California State University. They are determined not to let other students meet the same fate.
The Chavez sisters found themselves strangers in a strange land. Edith, Rubi, and Blanca left the little municipality of Turicato, Mexico, and joined their father, Jose, in Columbus, GA more than five years ago. After a lot of hard work, on Saturday night at the Columbus Civic Center, Edith and Blanca graduated from Spencer High School.
A few months shy of her 10th anniversary on the federal bench, Sonia Sotomayor flew to a law conference across the country from her native New York to give a speech that explored her ethnic identity and her role as a judge in strikingly personal terms. She evoked childhood memories: pigs' feet and beans, the sound of merengue at family parties, Saturday-night bingo games with her grandmother calling out the numbers while the children used chickpeas to mark their cards.