Blog: Latino Ed Beat
If you become a regular reader of this blog (and I hope you will), you will quickly discover that I am not very big on stat-heavy or policy-centered stories. Instead, I believe strong education stories focus on the people at the core of education–the students, educators and parents.
However (and this is a big however), understanding policy and finding good statistics will often lead to stories about real people and–when used skillfully–can strengthen any story we write.
The weekend brought plenty of notable victories. For baseball fans, there was Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit helping the Yankees to another win. For soccer fans, there was the U.S. women’s dramatic win over Brazil in the World Cup.
And for word nerds, educators and education writers, there was Evelyn Juarez’s first-place finish in the first National Spanish Spelling Bee in Alburquerque, N.M. The seventh-grader from Santa Cruz, N.M., beat out competitors from Texas, Colorado, Oregon and New Mexico by correctly spelling the word bizantinismo, which means excessive luxury.
Two recent U.S. Department of Education reports point out the continuing gaps in education for Latino and low-income students.
“Achievement Gaps,” from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), showed that Latino students continue to lag behind white students in math and reading by about two grade levels – a rate virtually unchanged since the 1990s.
So, I have a story idea I’m never going to get around to, and I’d like to give it away here. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with the folks from Reach out and Read, who put books in pediatricians’ offices, encourage the doctors to get them in families’ hands, who then tell parents how to use the books as developmental screening tools for very young children. This program has seen a lot of success.
In the world of early education, the Montgomery County, Md. school district is well-known for its remarkable efforts to build a seamless pipeline that moves students not just from pre-K to third grade but all the way to college. A new report from the Foundation for Child Development highlights the district’s success with its English language learners (ELLs), 62 percent of whom are Spanish-speaking.
In the midst of watching fireworks and Fourth of July parades, this piece in the New York Times about a trend among Latinos caught my eye. According to the story, U.S. Census figures show that the number of Amerindians who identify themselves as Hispanic has tripled since 2000, increasing from 400,000 to 1.2 million.
As an immigrant who was born in Ecuador and educated in the United States, I’ve lived the experience of being a Latino student in this country. As a reporter who covered Latino communities and education issues for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe, Associated Press and other publications, I’ve viewed that same experience through the prism of journalism.
And as a high school teacher whose classes were about 30 to 60 percent Latino, I’ve had an up-close glimpse at the problems Latino students face and the potential they can fulfill.
Hi, everyone! Welcome to Latino Ed Beat, where we’ll think about how to cover the news through the dual lenses of Latinos and education. I live and breathe this as both an early childhood reporter for Education Week and the mom of a Latino toddler. My husband is from Mexico City, and we live in a predominantly immigrant and second-generation Mexican neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.
One of the greatest challenges in education reporting is how to humanize data-driven stories. The beat abounds with statistics-laden research and reports thick with numbers and charts. And it’s important to report on trends and analyses these numbers illuminate.
But it’s even more important to keep a focus on the classroom and the kids reflected in all those reports and research.
Two recent stories in the Hechinger Report illustrate how to examine statistics through a human lens.