Blog: Latino Ed Beat
New research from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences shows that bilingual babies stay open to different speech sounds for a longer period than monolingual babies and that the relative amount of each language babies are exposed to affects their vocabulary as toddlers. Not surprisingly, in a sample of English/Spanish bilingual babies, the more of one language they heard, the more of that language they spoke at 15 months.
For education reporters, it can be all too easy to limit our coverage to school board meetings, education policy and inside-the-classroom activities. After all, those areas alone can keep a beat reporter busy seven days a week.
But it’s important to remember that much of what affects student performance happens outside the school property. (As a teacher, I was made acutely aware of this whenever one of my students shared a piece of their home life with me. Many were grappling with divorce, death, illness, abuse–as well as regular teenage angst.)
As both the mom of a bilingual toddler and an observer of how children in a Chicago Mexican immigrant neighborhood learn English, I have more to say about the AP story on how parents raise children multilingually.
Yesterday, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) released an issue brief on state policies supporting young English-language-learners. The brief cites a 2010 Urban Institute report that says one in four U.S. children has a parent who was born in another country. Most of these children speak a language other than English at home.
Do Latino and black students suffer more from bullying than white students?
According to a report presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, the answer is yes. A study, which examined the effect of bullying on 9,590 students from 580 schools, found that the grade point averages of Latino and black students who had been bullied dropped by a larger margin than the GPAs of bullied white students.
In Houston, the temperature is the 100′s, the leaves are turning brown and auburn (from a stubborn drought), and kids are stocking up on pencils, notebooks and backpacks.
That can only mean one thing: The school year is starting again. In the next few weeks, classes will kick off in districts around the country. So where are good story ideas lurking for education writers and others covering Latino communities?
Here are some thoughts and possible resources:
I’m on a quest. My son’s second birthday is coming up this weekend, and I want to find the books for two-year-olds that children read with their parents in Mexico, Spain, Argentina, and elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world. So far, the best one I have is a book my in-laws brought up from Mexico when they visited last summer, La Guardaría (The Nursery). I’m ashamed to confess our home library of Spanish and bilingual titles is pretty small and mostly consists of translations from books first published in English.
The announcement this week that Stanford University is launching an initiative to help English Language Learners meet Common Core State Standards in math and language arts brought up some story nuggets that have been simmering in the back of my mind.
The initiative itself provides a good opportunity to look at what states and individual school districts are doing to prepare ELLs to succeed under the new curriculum standards that 46 states have adopted.
I’ve been wondering about the classroom impact of new laws cracking down on illegal immigration that have been passed in Alabama, Georgia, Arizona and in municipalities across the country.
As school districts search for ways to accommodate growing immigrant populations, one trend seems to be emerging: separate schools for newcomers.
The growth in the Latino school-age population contains the seed for countless education stories, about issues ranging from funding to curriculum to overcrowding.
One topic particularly worth examining is the effectiveness of dual language vs. English immersion programs–an ongoing debate among educators and academics for decades. The real story, of course, is in the people who are affected: the students, their families and the communities.