Blog: Latino Ed Beat
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!
School districts across the country are scrambling to adapt to the growing number of Latino students by hiring more Latino teachers and incorporating more culturally appropriate material into the curriculum. In Arizona, however, a recently passed state law is designed to get rid of ethnic studies classes, which opponents say are divisive.
The Rafael Hernandez School, one of the first dual-language schools in the country, is an oasis in a hardscrabble Boston neighborhood, a place where students learn in English and Spanish and succeed in both languages.
In a Nov. 20 piece, Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham attributes much of the school’s success to long-time principal Margarita Muñiz, who died last week after a struggle with cancer. Abraham writes:
A story this week in the Los Angeles Times illustrates the importance and impact of examining a larger trend through the prism of one person’s experience.
The lack of Latino teachers is a continuing narrative in education. Even as schools grapple with a growing Latino student body, the number of Latino teachers remains low — despite studies that show minority students perform better when taught by teachers of color.
Now, Teach For America has teamed up with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund in an effort to recruit more Latino teachers.
Graduating from high school is not the only obstacle standing between Latino students and a college degree. Other hurdles include getting accepted to college, finding a way to pay for school and actually finishing a degree program.
This week, the KIPP Charter School chain announced a partnership with 10 universities across the country, designed to help KIPP students obtain college degrees.
One way to cover the achievement gap between Latinos and other students is to look at programs seeking to close the gap. One such initiative was launched this week by the Lumina Foundation, which is awarding $7.2 million in grants toward efforts to increase Latino participation in postsecondary education. The money will be distributed over a four-year period to nonprofit organizations in 10 states.
A teacher allegedly pushes a student against a wall and says, “Go back to your country.” Interpreters are not available for Spanish-speaking parents. Students are asked to provide immigration documents. Reports of Latino students being singled out or harassed circulate through the district.
Those were a few of the incidents that led to a civil rights complaint against the Durham Public Schools. According to the April complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the North Carolina school district created a “hostile environment” for Latino students.
Everyone wants the schools that serve disadvantaged students to improve their instruction, but actually making that happen is difficult. A new report from Chicago-based Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI) details how a group of 11 low-income, predominantly Latino schools have started to create change.
Sexual harassment is not just limited to the workplace. According to Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School, a new study from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), it’s increasingly becoming a problem in middle and high school classrooms and corridors.
Last week brought the release of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results -- also known as the nation’s report card. The data measuring the performance of the country’s fourth and eighth-grade students showed some progress in math scores, but little improvement in reading scores.
As the nation’s student body grows more diverse, the lack of minority teachers increasingly is becoming a more critical problem in school districts across the United States. Non-white students make up more than 40 percent of public school students, yet only 17 percent of the country’s teachers are minorities. Studies have shown that students of color often perform better when they have a teacher of color.