Seventeen-year-old Luis Pena has few doubts about his plans after high school. "Harvard," he says emphatically. "Or MIT." He wasn't always so confident. A year ago, when Pena and his family left the Dominican Republic for Ellicott City, he assumed college was beyond his reach. But midway through a Towson University workshop sponsored by the Hispanic College Fund yesterday, he proclaimed that such prestigious colleges were worth shooting for.
Nearly all states continue to struggle in meeting the No Child Left Behind Act's academic targets for English-language learners in mathematics and reading, according to the latest analysis released by the U.S. Department of Education.
Randi Weingarten, the New Yorker who is rising to become president of the American Federation of Teachers, says she wants to replace President Bush's focus on standardized testing with a vision of public schools as community centers that help poor students succeed by offering not only solid classroom lessons but also medical and other services.
The language wars flare up whenever insecure Americans worry that English is becoming <em>passé</em>. It's a cultural paranoia that is laughably off the mark. According to research, children of immigrants stand a better chance of losing their native language and speaking only English than never learning English at all. Still, it's a fear that is resistant to facts. I ought to know. I've seen it up close.
Schools need to have a protocol for educating and retaining immigrant students — documented and undocumented — and they must also engage in community outreach initiatives to build up trust among immigrant families, National Education Association (NEA) leaders and educators said during a panel last week at the organization's annual conference in Washington, D.C.
Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama will be using the National Council of La Raza convention, which begins tomorrow in San Diego, as a platform for courting the increasingly significant Latino vote. Convention organizers hope to press the senators for answers on some of the thorniest issues affecting Latinos, among them immigration policies and solutions to the nation's health insurance and mortgage crises.
In her "Learning the Language" blog from <em>Education Week</em>, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "Michael Erard suggests in <em>Wired Magazine</em> that the version of English that many Chinese speak, and that visitors to Beijing might hear during the summer Olympics, could have some advantages over the standard version that you and I may speak."
In her "Learning the Language" blog from <em>Education Week</em>, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "Money from California tobacco tax revenues is paying for literacy coaches to make home visits in Orange County and encourage Spanish-speaking parents to get their toddlers interested in books. That's one of a couple of efforts I've come across recently that show public officials may be paying more attention to the preparation for school of children who are English-language learners."
The phone rings and Fred Fuentes picks it up: "Equity." In the world of public education, an "assistant superintendent for equity and diversity" might seem like a superfluous, touchy-feely job designed by the politically correct and politically connected. But buzzwords notwithstanding, Mr. Fuentes has perhaps one of the most critical jobs in the school system today: seeing to it that students from all lands, all cultures and all economic backgrounds meet the achievement standards set forth in state and federal law.
She was just eight years old when she first started helping recent immigrants — in this case, her parents — adjust to a new language and culture. But Frances Martino-Souilliere went on to make assisting new Canadians, especially in terms of learning English, her life's work. Last week, Martino-Souilliere was one of 10 Ontarians named by the McGuinty government as Newcomer Champions. The award, created in 2007, recognizes Ontarians who help promote cultural understanding and diversity or help newcomers settle in this country.