Ten years after California voters approved sweeping changes in the way schools teach English to immigrant children under Proposition 227, some educators say the law has not worked and needs to be changed. Supporters, though, say the law has improved student test scores and should stay in place.
Adam Bertram speaks very little English. He is more comfortable speaking his native Spanish. Despite his limited English skills, Bertram attended the ELL Literacy Night at Arizona's Granville Elementary School in Prescott Valley Wednesday evening to learn how to help his first-grade daughter learn English. "I want to work at home to help her with reading, writing and math," said Bertram.
It's a staggering statistic: one in four American teenagers drops out of school before graduation, a rate that rises to one in three among black and Hispanic students. But there's no federal system keeping track of the more than 7,000 American teenagers who drop out of school each day. That appears to be changing. On Oct. 28, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings issued new rules that will force states to adopt a common system to monitor dropouts.
Juan Mora, a construction worker, lives with regret. If only he had listened to his parents and focused on his education in Mexico, then maybe his pay would not be dictated by the rise and fall of his hammer in an unstable economy. The high school-educated craftsman has high hopes that his four kids will live better than he has some day. Officials with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund want more Hispanic parents like Mora to set their sights on college for their kids. They point to the explosive growth in the nation's Hispanic population as proof that the sons and daughters of maids and landscapers could become the CEOs of tomorrow.
Fair Aims to Attract Interest in Chinese Language School
Organizers of a recent Chinese language and education fair in Eugene, OR hoped to share with the broader community what they already know: The Chinese language is fun, the culture well worth celebrating. They also had a more specific aim: to drum up interest in a Mandarin Chinese immersion school. Nearly five months after the Eugene School Board gave district staff members the go-ahead to craft a proposal for such a school, boosters continue to work behind the scenes to promote the idea, dispel misperceptions and attract the attention of families whose preschoolers might be able to take advantage of the program.
Saint Martin's University student Max Mendez, 21, was inspired to attend college after working in a glass factory. On Wednesday, the history major encouraged high school students at the sixth annual Latino Youth Summit to follow the same path. The Latino Youth Summit is an annual career, lifestyle and college conference organized by the Hispanic Roundtable. This year's summit was about 10 times larger than the first one, which had 50 students and parents attending, Jose Diaz said. He is the president of the Hispanic Roundtable, a local group of professionals who organize the conference.
Maria Tomaine didn't want to be the only person in her home not to speak fluent English. Her husband, Paul, doesn't speak Tomaine's native Spanish, and her children's primary language is English as well. So Tomaine took advantage of a free program her children's school district offers because it believes parents who can speak English can more comfortably navigate the educational system and help their children with their homework.
About 10 percent of the 33,000 Rochester, NY, students are English language learners. Most of those are Spanish speakers, not refugees. Fewer than half of the non-English speakers are refugees — but the growing group speaks about 35 languages and more than 65 dialects, prompting a new program for English language learners.
Spanish-speaking members of Reedsburg, WI now have a place to go to help them get involved in local events and everyday ventures. Ruben Yanez-Diaz began reaching out in the community this summer and has impacted many of Reedsburg's Hispanic residents in meaningful ways ever since. Whether it has been to accompany someone to the hospital or to court, Yanez-Diaz has been more than willing to help anyone he can.
Oregon voters have rejected ballot Measure 58, proposing to limit how much time public school students can spend in English as a Second Language classes.