Anticipating significant budget cuts to New York City schools in the coming year, Chancellor Joel I. Klein ordered principals on Wednesday to stop hiring teachers from outside the system, a move that will force them to look internally at a pool that, according to an independent report, includes many subpar teachers.
To earn a high school equivalency degree at New Jersey's newest GED testing center, applicants need to know their math, social studies, and science. They also need one more skill unique to the center. They must speak Spanish. The state's first Spanish-only GED testing site is set to open next month in a Newark social service agency called La Casa de Don Pedro. Officials there said offering Spanish speakers a chance to earn their degree in their native tongue will improve their odds of getting a job and going on with their studies.
Next month, a Newark social service agency will offer GED testing in Spanish. At first glance, this strikes many as a ridiculous idea that tears at the American fabric. The GED, critics cry, should be taken in English because that is the primary language in American colleges and workplaces. After all, getting ahead in America demands fluent English.
So why should we allow applicants to take the test in Spanish?
In her Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "About 8 percent of English-language learners in California, compared with 20 percent of students who aren't ELLs, finish high school having taken the required courses to be eligible to attend the California State University system, according to a study by WestEd released in a brief by the National High School Center."
Carpentry is about cutting corners, not conjugating verbs. But at Laney College, there's a unique program that combines building wooden cabinets with building basic English skills. The students, mostly men, are Latinos from other countries and they are seeking a career and a better grasp of the English language. Only the English they're learning isn't for the purpose of writing term papers; it's to help them function as carpenters.
Traditional Mexican trumpet music resonated through Colorado's Fort Collins High School auditorium as students of the Latino Student Association introduced their classmates to an authentic Cinco de Mayo celebration. Complete with customary courting dances, some more than 300 years old, new Mexican hip-hop dances and a rundown on the history of the holiday, the students brought their culture into the hearts of their peers.
Days after the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case on English Language Learner (ELL) policy that pit limited-government proponents in Arizona against advocates of bilingual education, researchers, policymakers and education practitioners unveiled Friday some of the best ways to narrow the achievement gap among ELL and other underserved groups during a policy breakfast series at New York University.
When a few of the English learners in Jack Lieberman's class asked him for translations of some off-color English phrases, the Tamalpais Adult School teacher didn't think much of it. After all, Lieberman said, his students were all adults — and needed to know the meaning of certain words in order to avoid making embarrassing mistakes on the job or with friends.
When David was in kindergarten five years ago, he spoke only Vietnamese. But now, thanks to his English language learners class at Elliott Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska, you'd never guess English wasn't his first language. David's story is not unusual. At Elliott Elementary, diversity enhances learning. Among its 410 students, 69 percent are minority. And the 36 percent who, like David, are English language learners speak a combined 26 different languages.
Krystal Rodriguez and her mother both cried with joy in April when she received her college acceptance letter from USC. But her parents said they were shocked during a subsequent campus visit to discover that neither the government nor the university would be offering substantial help with the $53,000 annual cost of attendance. Although they were very proud of their daughter, the Cerritos couple told her that they didn't think they could swing the $200,000 tab for four years at the private university. The Rodriguez family's discussion echoed a number of painful conversations this spring as recession-battered parents delivered some variation of the same message: Congratulations, you got in, but we can't afford it.