Daily Editorial: Teachers take action
Vail CO, Colorado
Forget all the talk about securing our borders, reforming the immigration system, assimilation or creating guest-worker programs.
Our teachers are dealing with the reality, which only gets more and more real each school year, of an influx of Spanish-speaking students who are falling behind in class.
Rather than waffle, pander and fail, as many of our elected leaders from both parties have done with illegal immigration, our teachers, less concerned with a pupil’s immigration status, are attacking the so-called “achievement gap” in a variety of ways.
It’s no big shock that kids who can’t understand English do poorly on tests in English. More than one teacher’s solution was for to learn Spanish so they ” unlike the people who write state test questions ” can communicate in a substantial way with her students and their parents.
Avon Elementary has started school for struggling kids two weeks early and expanded after-school reading classes. That school, and Edwards Elementary, have a Spanish-speaking liaison who will try to encourage Spanish-speaking parents to volunteer with their kids.
One big problem is that no matter how much progress a student makes learning English during the school year, summer can be a season of regression. To combat that, schools are encouraging students do as much reading in English as possible while on vacation.
Meanwhile, teachers are seeing more kids sign up for summer school and say they are seeing a big difference in grades.
Regardless of whether these programs ultimately work, it’s encouraging to see that, on a local level at least, educators are testing and refining solutions rather than being content to spew the rhetoric many of our elected officials can get past.
” Matt Zalaznick for the Editorial Board