Blog: Latino Ed Beat
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:
A story in the Chicago Tribune this week recaps new research showing metro area Latinos have stayed trapped in low-skill, low-wage jobs in a handful of industries over the last decade, even though the overwhelming majority of them are American citizens. Lack of education appears to be the key factor holding them back.
How will budget cuts affect the academic achievement of Latino (and other) students?
As part of “A Day in the Life of a Classroom,” an interesting project with ethnic media outlets, New American Media examines the impact of funding cuts in classrooms. Among the issues studied are classroom size, school closings and increasing demands on teachers.
I’ve seen a number of stories about changing demographics and the rising numbers of Latino babies in locales all over the United States. Often they are contrasted with declining birth rates for non-Hispanics. But a recent story in the Tulsa World went a constructive step further to show how the demographic change is affecting policy and practice among the city’s Head Start programs.
Schools are not the only ones trying to tackle the Latino achievement gap. Increasingly, parent and community groups are also stepping in to bolster test scores, graduation rates and academic success.
Here in Chicago last week, the Latino Policy Forum and Advance Illinois co-hosted a breakfast discussion with Donald Hernandez, a sociologist with Hunter College, City University of New York, about his recent research showing that children’s reading prowess in third grade strongly predicts whether or not they will graduate from high school.
Amid all the coverage of English Language Learner programs and whether they are successful in teaching English to Spanish-language speakers, one issue often gets lost. Namely, how to preserve heritage languages in the children and grandchildren of immigrants. Recent studies have shown that Latino students who maintain strong ties to the cultural and linguistic heritage of their parents often do better academically than those who do not.
One of the greatest challenges for reporters covering Latino issues can be finding ways to write about the undocumented immigrant community without relying on statistics, studies or simple generalizations. It can be difficult, even close to impossible, to gain access to people whose very survival depends on their ability to live in the shadows.
Yet humanizing that population is essential to thorough coverage, especially for education writers. The growing presence of undocumented students and the hurdles they face is a key component of the schools beat.
Does drumming up interest in STEM careers — science, technology, engineering and math – hold a key to improving Latino achievement in school?
Last week I received a press release announcing that two researchers from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education had won a $40,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation to study language acquisition in Latino preschoolers. The study is already under way, and the researchers were willing to share some preliminary findings from their work via email.
A recently filed lawsuit highlights a very real hurdle facing some Latino students with college aspirations.
A new report looking at Latino achievement levels from the Council of the Great City Schools covers some familiar territory: lower reading proficiency rates on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, greater dropout rates and risks, lower levels of “readiness to learn.”