Blog: Latino Ed Beat
The state of Texas has a tendency to do things its own way when it comes to education.
It is one of only a handful of states that have not adopted the Common Core State Standards. The Lone Star state’s textbook adoption process routinely grabs headlines. Now, according to this story in the Houston Chronicle, Texas has decided not to count the standardized test scores of multiracial students in the state’s accountability ratings.
As an admitted fan girl who dreams of attending the San Diego Comic-Com, this story about a panel featuring students from Imperial County, California caught my attention. For the last three years, school district students have been working with the Comic Book Project to create comic books as part of a program to develop literacy and English language skills.
In June, the watchdog publication Catalyst Chicago published an In Depth report showing that Chicago lags behind other large urban districts in providing full-day kindergarten. (Full disclosure: I used to write for them.) While New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco routinely provide full-day kindergarten to all their students, Chicago does not.
A study tracking the disciplinary records of nearly a million Texas students exposed some startling findings:
Nearly 60 percent of the students were suspended or expelled at least once during middle school or high school. About 31 percent of the students received an out-of-school suspension.
About 15 percent were suspended or expelled 11 times or more. About half of those students ended up in the juvenile justice system.
How might school funding cuts affect efforts to fight the obesity epidemic among Latino children?
That question was the focus of the Latino Childhood Obesity Education Summit, held last week in San Antonio. As reported here in the San Antonio Express News, experts worry that an expected $4 billion in state funding cuts could hurt the ability of Texas school districts to continue programs intended to fight obesity.
This week, my story on what states are likely to do to win Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants was published by Education Week. The story gives a good national overview of the kinds of things states will be encouraged to do to win the money: build data systems, create quality ratings for daycare centers and other early learning programs, and so forth.
I came across a very interesting debate regarding texts used for English Language Learners on this Education Week blog.
If you become a regular reader of this blog (and I hope you will), you will quickly discover that I am not very big on stat-heavy or policy-centered stories. Instead, I believe strong education stories focus on the people at the core of education–the students, educators and parents.
However (and this is a big however), understanding policy and finding good statistics will often lead to stories about real people and–when used skillfully–can strengthen any story we write.
The weekend brought plenty of notable victories. For baseball fans, there was Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit helping the Yankees to another win. For soccer fans, there was the U.S. women’s dramatic win over Brazil in the World Cup.
And for word nerds, educators and education writers, there was Evelyn Juarez’s first-place finish in the first National Spanish Spelling Bee in Alburquerque, N.M. The seventh-grader from Santa Cruz, N.M., beat out competitors from Texas, Colorado, Oregon and New Mexico by correctly spelling the word bizantinismo, which means excessive luxury.
Two recent U.S. Department of Education reports point out the continuing gaps in education for Latino and low-income students.
“Achievement Gaps,” from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), showed that Latino students continue to lag behind white students in math and reading by about two grade levels – a rate virtually unchanged since the 1990s.
So, I have a story idea I’m never going to get around to, and I’d like to give it away here. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with the folks from Reach out and Read, who put books in pediatricians’ offices, encourage the doctors to get them in families’ hands, who then tell parents how to use the books as developmental screening tools for very young children. This program has seen a lot of success.