Blog: Latino Ed Beat
Latino education issues were one of the big topics at the National Council of La Raza’s annual convention. Among the topics addressed were ways to stem the high dropout rate among Latinos, parent and community involvement, and education reform.
As wave after wave of budget cuts hits school districts around the country, it’s worthwhile to ask who the cutbacks are hurting the most.
This piece from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation compiles a convincing array of reports and studies to conclude that the neediest schools suffer the most, with programs serving low-income students and English learners among those hit the hardest.
Among the findings cited:
A number of early childhood learning experts I’ve talked with describe programs like Head Start and Educare as “two-generation” strategies: They not only benefit young children directly, but they also help parents increase their parenting skills and further their own educations. At heart, strengthening a parent’s literacy and commitment to education pays off for both parent and child, especially before children enter elementary school.
You may have spotted Sarah Garland’s great article on the Pre-K -3 movement either at the Hechinger site or at Education Week. Pre-K-3 is a new effort among funders and early learning advocates to build better bridges from preschool to kindergarten and beyond. Garland paints it as an ambitious policy agenda covering universal preschool, full-day kindergarten for all and connected curriculum from pre-school through third grade.
Today’s Chicago Tribune continues its recent census coverage with a story on the surging numbers of Latino preschoolers throughout the city and its surrounding suburbs. (Full disclosure: My son is one of them.) Within Chicago proper, just over 40 percent of children under age five are Latino.
Deep inside a new report about this country’s teachers is this interesting tidbit: “The proportion of K-12 teachers who are white has dropped from 91 percent in 1986 to 84 percent in 2011.”
While the trend might be positive in terms of increasing diversity among the ranks of teachers, it still means only 16 percent of teachers are non-white. Broken down a little more, the numbers in the report by the National Center for Education Information show that just 6 percent of teachers are Latino.
In years past, immigrant parents and educators actively discouraged children from speaking their native languages, thinking that it would smooth the way for assimilation and achievement in school. Today, however, a growing body of research is pointing to the benefits of speaking more than one language, and a growing number of parents are searching for the best way to raise multilingual children.
In the mid-1980s, anthropologist Joseph Tobin published the landmark study Preschool in Three Cultures: China, Japan and the United States. Two years ago, with colleagues Yeh Hsueh and Mayumi Karasawa, he published a new version, Preschool in Three Cultures Revisited. The original book looked at one preschool from each of the three countries; the new book expands to two schools.
Catholic schools have long been a foothold for the children of immigrants. For my parents, the products of Catholic education in Ecuador, these schools were a natural first choice for their children.
But in recent years, the growth of charter schools, rising tuition costs and the increasing number of Latinos joining evangelical Protestant churches has threatened the survival of Catholic schools across the country. Schools in urban or low-income areas, where Latino students often make up the majority of students, are among those most in danger of closing.
In April, construction started on a new Educare center in West Chicago, a suburb in Illinois’ DuPage County, about 30 miles west of the Windy City. Educare is nationally recognized for providing high-quality early care and instruction for children from birth to age five. Educare of West DuPage, as the new center is known, is their first site in a suburban location.
Much has been written about the plight of the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. In recent years, stepped-up deportation has divided thousands of families or forced parents to yank their children from the only country they’ve known. Many of the stories I’ve read look at the effects on the adults and the family as a whole.