For those who teach Italian in U.S. schools, the advent of an Advanced Placement course in Italian language and culture three years ago was an epochal event, securing a future for the subject alongside Spanish and French and staving off competition from fast-growing programs in Japanese and Chinese. The prospect that AP Italian might be eliminated has set off a reaction that might seem surprising, considering that 2,000 students took the Italian AP exam this year. Prominent Italian American groups and Matilda Cuomo, wife of former New York governor Mario Cuomo, have mobilized to save the course.
Immigration law, a subject that three decades ago was a secondary, technical field delegated to adjunct professors, is booming at law schools nationwide. Elective immigration law courses taught by tenured specialists are filling lecture halls, immigration clinics are expanding, and student groups devoted to the subject are mushrooming.
A "comprehensive" plan on the future of public education in the state does not address the plight of immigrant students in Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick's comprehensive education reform failed to set specific goals towards a growing section of the state's student population — English Language Learners.
For years, people have bemoaned Minnesota's disturbing achievement gap between white students and students of color, but a new trend is emerging. During the past two decades, Asian students in Minnesota overwhelmingly have been Hmong children whose test results have been similar to other students of color. Recently, however, Asian students have made gains on statewide tests, and their results are more closely mirroring those of their white peers, particularly in math.
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 a report released by the U.S. Department of Education today. The biennial report to Congress credits just one state — unnamed in the report — with hitting the mark for adequate yearly progress, or AYP, in mathematics in the 2005-06 school year, the most recent year for which data was submitted, while none met AYP in reading.
Ever since 2003, when a leggy Muslim girl from Senegal named Hawa Kebe immigrated to Brooklyn, in the eighth grade, she has dreamed of going to her senior prom. So in the late fall, when she learned that her high school wasn't planning a prom, she volunteered to organize one. Never mind that many of Hawa's classmates at the International High School at Prospect Heights, a public school that serves newcomers to the United States, had no clue what a prom was or that there was no translation for the word "prom" among the 28 languages spoken by the school's 411 students.
Learning a new language can be a daunting task for anyone. Combine that task with learning a new social system and arriving on time for the first day of school, and it seems like more than a five-year-old should endure. That is exactly the idea behind the Jumpstart Hispanic Program held at Alberta Elementary School in Tuscaloosa, AL. The free program is aimed at Hispanic children, all of whom speak little to no English, preparing for their first year in an English-based classroom, and was started by students from the University of Alabama.
School officials in Houma, Louisiana are considering a policy that would require all commencement speeches to be in English. The proposal comes after Hue and Cindy Vo, cousins who were co-valedictorians at Ellender High School, delivered part of their commencement addresses last month in Vietnamese. Cindy Vo, the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, spoke about high-school memories, friends and the future. Then Ms. Vo, 18, recited a sentence in Vietnamese dedicated to her parents, as they watched. She told classmates that the line, roughly translated, was a command to always be your own person.
Educators and advocacy organizations who recently spoke during a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill said that teachers must be sensitive and inclusive to all students' cultural backgrounds. The briefing, "Culturally Based Teaching: A Model for Student Success," provided educators and student advocates with the opportunity to share their views and provide federal policymakers with first-hand accounts on how using a culturally based education model will empower students and help close the achievement gap.
The University of California is considering a major shift in the way it determines which students are eligible for admission — a formula some say is now too rigid. Supporters say the changes would create a fairer approach and broaden access for students at inner-city and rural high schools. Critics, however, are voicing concerns, saying the proposal not only undermines the politically popular guarantee of admission to the top 12.5 percent of high school graduates but might reduce the number of African American, Latino and Asian American students who would be assured admission.