Blog: Latino Ed Beat
First came the DREAM Act; now we’re at ARMS.
Perhaps the biggest surprise Oscar nomination on Tuesday was Demián Bichir in the best actor category for his portrayal of a Mexican undocumented immigrant.
They are known as transfronterizos: children living in Mexico who cross the border into the United States daily to attend public schools.
By federal law, children who are undocumented immigrants are entitled to a free public education, but in several states lawmakers nevertheless are pursuing policies to count exactly how many of these children are enrolled in schools.
I am an education reporter by profession, but my passion for Latino education issues is fueled by my family history.
Would a student who speaks English but whose parents speak Spanish be better or worse off being labeled an English language learner?
It’s a dilemma the Fronteras Desk, a new multimedia collaborative from seven public radio stations in the Southwest, portrays in an article and video about such students.
One of the challenges presented by the growing diversification of the country’s student population is how best to incorporate culturally relevant material into the standard curriculum. Educational research and classroom evidence show that students are more engaged and learn better when they can personally relate to the subject matter. For example, if students in a class are predominantly Latino, stories about Sally and Bob probably won’t grab their attention as well as stories about Marisol and Joaquin.
Latino children from low-income families face more than just academic struggles. As this story in the New York Times points out, they may also face health problems, which in turn, can contribute to lower school achievement.
A recurring theme on this blog has been the lack of minority teachers in classrooms, a particular concern given the research showing that having a teacher of the same race as students can help improve school performance.
Just in time for the new year, there’s some encouraging news on the bilingual front.
First, there’s this piece from the Naples Daily News about a promising English Language Learner program in Florida’s Collier County Public School system. The Sheltered Model pilot program, developed by the National Center for Research on Education, started in 2008 with 14 elementary schools and now includes 24 classrooms in 16 elementary schools.
Classrooms across the country are growing more diverse, and teachers across the country are facing the challenge of meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse student population.
And each of these classrooms contains the seeds of stories examining the effects of changing student demographics.
Take some time to read this series in the Washington Post, which tracks the lives of the “Seat Pleasant 59,” who were fifth-graders in 1988 when they received a gift from two wealthy businessmen. The men promised to pay for the students’ college educations.
The series looks at the paths taken by the students, some of whom went on to success and some of whom did not. As the first story notes: