Roughly one-fourth of the nation's kindergartners are Hispanic, evidence of an accelerating trend that now will see minority children become the majority by 2023. Census data released Thursday also showed that Hispanics make up about one-fifth of all K-12 students. Hispanics' growth and changes in the youth population are certain to influence political debate, from jobs and immigration to the No Child Left Behind education, for years.
Even the harshest critics of the role that television plays in children's lives would have a hard time arguing that Elmo and Big Bird are bad for youngsters. From the earliest days of "Sesame Street" nearly four decades ago, educational television has earned high praise and millions of fans for entertaining and educating young children. Now, a new generation of programs, and a rigorous research effort to test its impact, is adding to the "Sesame Street" legacy and working to clarify for parents the potential benefits of television viewing, particularly for literacy development.
Samantha Mazurek has more than one reason to be proud of her latest school project. A member of the Amistades program in Minnesota's Northfield Middle School, the sixth-grader just finished researching, writing and illustrating an alphabet book in Spanish, which in itself is tough work for any student. But what makes Mazurek really excited is the fact that her book, along with 84 other Spanish alphabet books hand-made by her fellow students, will be donated to Latino families in Northfield to promote early childhood, native-language literacy.
Warning of an education crisis for the nation's burgeoning Latino population, academic researchers and advocates came to Capitol Hill last week, calling for quick action to avert that crisis. Dr. Patricia Gándara, a University of California, Los Angeles, education professor and author of the new book <em>The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policies</em>, told a crowd in a Senate conference room that her objective "was to try to make clear how terribly urgent this is."
Carlos Gonzalez, the president of the Latino Chamber of Commerce and an alumnus of the University of Massachusetts, came to speak to students on the future of Latino businesses, politics and community responsibility. Gonzalez, who founded the Latino Chamber of Commerce in 2004, spoke to those gathered about the importance of running one's own business.
This year, only five of the 75 students in freshman honors English class at Sonoma Valley High School are Latino. The high school student population is 37 percent Latino, but that ratio doesn't hold in the Advanced Placement (AP) and honors classes that are critical to gain entrance to four-year universities. Improving that ratio is one of the goals that the high school has outlined in the detailed plan it prepares to maintain accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Long associated with images of dorky vests and singalongs around the campfire, the 97-year-old Girl Scouts of the USA is trying to become cool. Or at least cooler. With enrollment dropping sharply, the organization is experimenting with a total makeover of the Girl Scout experience. What's in: books and blogs written in girls' voices on topics such as environmental awareness and engineering; troops led by college students; videoconferencing with scouts in other countries. The organization is also increasing outreach to immigrant parents and children.
The light green eyes of the 10-year-old boy become alert as soon as someone says a word he recognizes. Samer Salem, known as Sam to his classmates at Horizon Elementary, came to the United States from Iraq in December. Salem enrolled at Ohio's Hilliard Elementary School in early January, joining Joan Cruickshank's fourth-grade class. Cruickshank, knowing that Salem was coming into her class knowing a few letters in English, grabbed an Arabic dictionary and began hanging small signs around the room to identify items in his native language.
For sixth-grader Esmeralda Brown, 12, two unpleasant but sometimes necessary processes, "nacionalización" (nationalization) and "quimioterapia" (chemotherapy) spelled victory at the recent Las Cruces Spanish spelling bee. "I was less nervous this year," said Brown, who finished third last year but was the only bilingual winner. "Every day, I would practice (words from) three letters of the alphabet. This last week, I would study all the advanced words."
By explicitly naming education as one of three top priority areas in his first joint congressional address and in his first federal budget proposal, President Obama is putting considerable political weight — and even more money — behind the agenda he laid out during his campaign.