Some of Arizona's greatest education dilemmas deal with the languages that are heard — or not heard — in its classrooms and homes. Now, Arizona State University is hoping to create a body of doctoral-level scholars, and research, to tackle those issues. A new Applied Linguistics Ph.D. program, which is seeing its first five candidates enroll this fall, aims to prepare linguists to find solutions to challenges dealing with issues of language and literacy.
Most students with limited English-speaking skills are concentrated in low-performing public schools. Many of them don't do well on standardized tests, but neither do black or white students who attend the same schools. S study released Thursday by the Pew Hispanic Center analyzed standardized testing data for public schools in Texas, Arizona, California, Florida and New York. The findings, however, have less to do with who the students are and more with what their schools are like.
People who speak another language beyond English know if you don't use it, you will lose it. With that premise in mind, the local school system offers a month-long literacy enrichment camp each summer for English language learners who are students in homes where English is not the primary language.
The mountain man really impressed Miguel Hernandez. The normally boisterous third-grader sat in quiet fascination as "Iron Thumb," portrayed by Jan Manning, talked about life in the mountains. Miguel is one of 78 students taking part in a Thompson School District summer camp for English-language learners from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Fewer than a third of children who identify themselves as American Indian or Alaska Native say that they know "a lot" about their tribe or group, according to a study on the teaching of Native American culture and language released today by a branch of the U.S. Department of Education.
When Carlos de Mestral came from Paraguay as a high school sophomore, the total of his English vocabulary was: "My name is Carlos." By his senior year, while he worked carpentry and car wash jobs to help his family pay the rent, he was taking Advanced Placement English. Not only did he get into college, he got into Harvard. Not only that, he received a full scholarship. De Mestral and his 18-year-old sister, Celia, are among the latest students to be awarded a small scholarship by El Centro Hispano, a community agency in White Plains. The program, designed to help young Latino students go to college, began humbly in 1980.
A lack of good quality children's books in Arabic means that parents are reading to their children from English books, said a publisher. Isobel Abul Houl, publisher for Jeroboam books that publishes children's books in both English and Arabic, said: "There's a lack of good children's books in terms of illustration, quality and imagination, so the majority of children's books in Arabic are often translated or they're poor quality."
The creators of the One Laptop per Child initiative may have been thinking of helping children in the developing world, but cities such as Immokalee, FL, feel its kids would benefit, too. Nevertheless, it's unclear how much the laptops can bridge the achievement gap for the kids of migrant workers.
Students raised speaking languages other than English have been a steadily growing part of Wisconsin's population, but few were prepared for this finding when the state adopted a new test for identifying such children a few years ago: The suburban school districts of Racine and St. Francis surged ahead of Milwaukee Public Schools, each with a higher percentage of their students labeled English language learners, in the 2005-'06 school year.
It's often said that play is a child's work. When fall comes, a group of young children in Naperville, IL will be doing their work at a child development center entirely in Chinese. Program directors say that their goal is for the younger students to spend two or three years learning the language and then head for kindergarten fully fluent in Mandarin.