New York City children who live in public housing perform worse in school than students who live in other types of housing, according to a study by New York University researchers. The study, which was released this week, found that students living in public housing are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to graduate in four years than those who do not live in public housing.
During this week of Thanksgiving, NPR is spending time thinking about what it means to become an American. The answers come from three noted authors, including Junot Diaz, an immigrant who arrived in this country from the Dominican Republic at the age of 6. His Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, <em>The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao</em>, centers on an outcast, science fiction-obsessed kid who comes from a family of Dominican immigrants.
Juli Salatino's third-period class is a bit different from her others. Her portable classroom at Davis High School, generally filled with teenagers learning Spanish, is instead occupied by a variety of students working through English verbs and sentence structure. This is her English as a Second Language, or ESL, class. And, for these non-native English-speakers, it's extremely important. Unlike those who are only beginning to learn English words and phrases, students in this ESL class have mastered the language well enough to engage in conversations. They're in class to learn how to express more complex thoughts and ideas.
The families of the six children in an English as a Second Language class at Connecticut's Berry School last week came from across the globe, from Ecuador to Albania to China. About 10 percent of all Bethel students come from families that do not speak English. In a boost for its ESL program, the school district will get a $17,137 state Department of Education grant, an entitlement grant made possible with federal funds.
Jeanne Taylor is old school in the education world. The Indiana elementary teacher has traveled around the world teaching children English and to figure out the best ways for them to learn. Her degree in education allows her to teach limited-English-speaking students, but Taylor does not hold a specialty license in teaching English as a New Language and has never completed the college courses required to achieve that certification. She is in the majority — most of the teachers in Indiana assigned to teach English as a New Language do not hold a certification in the subject, according to data provided by the Indiana Department of Education and local school districts.
In a classroom at Hallman Elementary School, teacher Lourdes Falcon sounded out "S" for kindergartners gathered around a table. Working in small groups to learn the basic skills needed to read and write, kindergartners wrote out letters and repeated after Falcon. Smiling, Falcon praised them in Spanish. Half of the kindergarten and first-grade classes now are being taught in Spanish at Hallman, part of an effort by the school and district to turn the struggling school around.
Supporters of bilingual education are hoping that the election of Barack Obama as president will lead to a thaw in attitudes toward what they consider a proven educational method that has been ignored — or worse — by the Bush administration. Advocates are encouraged by the endorsement of bilingual education by President-elect Obama in the recent campaign, and see the pending reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act as a vehicle to change federal testing and other policies they view as hostile to dual-language instruction.
Hispanics not only attend college at lower rates than others, they also tend to be more cost-sensitive when it comes to choosing where to go, according to a national study that Sallie Mae and Gallup Inc. recently released. The study, "How America Pays for College," revealed that Hispanics went to universities with cheaper tuition costs than institutions Anglos and blacks attended, paying an average of about $4,300 less per year.
Two reports by Australia's Northern Territory Education Department have directly undermined an attack on bilingual schools by Minister Marion Scrymgour, who claims they are poor at teaching English. Ms. Scrymgour has repeatedly said there is no evidence to show that bilingual schools accelerate English literacy. But two reports by her own department have surfaced. Both say schools that teach young indigenous children in their own language in initial years, and gradually introduce English, ultimately achieve better English literacy outcomes.
Two years after Compton College was stripped of its accreditation, a multimillion-dollar effort is underway to reestablish the two-year school as an institution of higher learning. El Camino College, which has assumed management of Compton, has spent $41 million in local bond money to renovate facilities and recently hired three new deans to revamp a threadbare curriculum.