Why Are We Failing English Language Learners? The Children of Immigrants Deserve to Be At the Top of Department Agenda, Not Ignored.

 

“betraying a whole generation of immigrant kids who are struggling to succeed”
 
The New York State Education Department, pointing out the “pluses” and “minuses,” released the High School Graduation data from the 2003 cohort (students graduating in June/August 2007). The SED reports that 25.2 % of ELL students enrolling in 2003 graduated, 29.4% dropped out, and 40% are still enrolled. The percentage of ELL students who are graduating is declining.
 
The percentage of ELL students graduating declined by 5% between the 2001 and 2003 cohorts.
 
The NYC Department of Education, in a gloating power point, report a rise in the graduation rate for ELL students.
 
The graduation rate among English Language Learners rose 3.1 points to 23.5 in 2007, after falling from 26.5 percent in 2005 to 20.4 percent in 2006.
 
The disparity in the State and the City numbers is distressing, especially since 76% of ELL students are in New York City.
 
 
 

* The U.S. Department of Education defines the term limited English proficient child as an individual

(A) who is aged 3 through 21;

(B) who is enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary school or secondary school;

(C) (i) who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; (ii) (I) who is a Native American or Alaska Native, or a native resident of the outlying areas; and (II) who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual’s level of English language proficiency; or (iii) who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; and

(D) whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual– (i) the ability to meet the state’s proficient level of achievement on state assessments described in section 1111(b)(3); (ii) the ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English; or (iii) the opportunity to participate fully in society.

Source: Federal PL 107-110, The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Title IX, General Provisions, Part A Definitions, Section 9101(25)

Looking at the same data the City applauds themselves while the State sees serious inequities.

An acquaintance was visiting the City for the first time in over a decade; staying in, believe it or not, a bed and breakfast in Brooklyn. She strolled through a South Asian neighborhood along Coney Island Avenue to an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood along Avenue J to a Caribbean neighborhood through a Chinese neighborhood. Ethnic diversity is at the core of this wonderful City. Families from around the world, hardworking, conscientious, seeking what is best for their children; repeating the experiences of our ancestors who fled the bigotry and poverty of the old world.

What is so troubling is that we know what works. For example, the International High Schools, a network of nine public high schools serving 2700 ELL students around the City, has an outstanding record of serving the immigrant community.

Under the current organization principals are measured solely by the Progress Report grade, and, unfortunately, too many schools have no idea how to provide appropriate instruction for ELL students. No one monitors anything, and pushing aside ELL kids is not uncommon.

The 140,000 (13.4%) ELL students in the NYC school system are entitled to the best  instruction and this administration has been a failure.

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One response to “Why Are We Failing English Language Learners? The Children of Immigrants Deserve to Be At the Top of Department Agenda, Not Ignored.

  1. Pingback: Why Are We Failing English Language Learners? | Edwize

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