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  1. #1
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    This really makes me mad!





    Home > News > AP News


    Saturday, March 19, 2005
    Story last updated at 12:15 a.m. on Saturday, March 19, 2005

    South Wire: Some school systems have few teachers to help Hispanics learn English


    By SHEILA FLYNN
    Associated Press Writer



    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Every day at Hayes High School, 60 Spanish-speaking students sit together, eat together and learn together. They try to help each other through English-language classes because there's usually no one else around who can.

    There is a single teacher for all the English-as-a-Second-Language high school students in the district. They have no Spanish-speaking aides or tutors, and the Hispanic students say the teachers in their regular classes have low expectations for them and don't care if they fall behind.

    "We need more people to help us," says 16-year-old Luis Ruiz, whose family came here from Mexico last fall.

    Hispanic advocates complain that Birmingham city schools are an example of what can happen when a district is unprepared to handle a growing number of Spanish-speaking students.

    And Birmingham city schools have had just a small taste of the boom in Alabama's Hispanic population. It soared more than 200 percent between 1990 and 2003 to 89,195. But of the district's 32,300 students, 97 percent are black and 1 percent are Hispanic.

    Three years ago, the district decided to send all its ESL high school students to one school, believing the district could pool its slim teaching resources and the students could learn better together.

    At Hayes High, a mostly black school in a lower-income neighborhood, there is the one ESL teacher for 72 high school students, including the 60 Spanish speakers. At lower grades, there are eight other ESL teachers, giving the district a total of nine for 450 ESL students, a ratio of 1-to-50.

    Hispanic high schoolers say the lack of attention they get during their daily 45-minute ESL class is only part of the problem. During their mainstream classes throughout the rest of the day, they say the regular teachers' low expectations of them were a recurring obstacle.

    "They don't say anything," Ruiz says. "If we come in with an assignment that's incomplete or not done, they don't say, 'Bring it in another day.' They don't care."

    His brother, Julio Ruiz, also 16, agreed.

    "Sometimes, we need teachers to repeat or explain things again," Julio Ruiz says. "Sometimes you ask them a question and begin talking, and they tell you to wait and move on."

    Javier Morales of Project Aprende, a Hispanic assistance group in Birmingham, says school systems need to help these young people because their parent's can't.

    "Of the Alabama migrants, 80 percent are first-generation migrants," Morales says. "They bring their kids up here, and the schools don't have enough to provide the help. The kids don't have the support system at home, so they drop out."

    A recent study of 2000 Census data by the Pew Hispanic Center found that Alabama had the nation's highest percentage of foreign-born high school-age Hispanics who had dropped out - either in their own country or here - 63 percent. Among Hispanics of high school age who were born in the United States, Alabama's dropout percentage was still 33 percent, also the nation's highest.

    Rosalva Bermudez-Ballin, ESL coordinator for the city school system, says Hayes formerly employed a second ESL high school teacher as well as a Spanish-speaking aide. But both employees left the school, and finding replacements is difficult - especially when funds are scarce.

    "The salary is low," she says, noting that ESL teachers begin at around $30,000 and aides at $15,000. "Other school systems in other states offer more enticements. They take the better jobs that offer more money."

    In school districts big and small across the South, it's not unusual to find ratios of ESL teachers to Spanish speakers at or above 40-to-1. Charlotte/Mecklenburg County, N.C.: has 199 teachers to 9,338 students, or 1-to-47. Clayton County, Ga., has 45 ESL teachers to 2,150 students, or 1-to-48. Wake County, N.C., which includes Raleigh, has 150 teachers to 5,600 students, or 1-to-37.

    There is no clearly defined optimum ratio for English language learners, though the same general rule applies as with mainstream classrooms: The lower the better.

    But more important than the raw numbers, experts say, is how those teachers are deployed and how they run their classes.

    Patricia Gandara, a minority education professor at the University of California, Davis, says you can have a ratio of 1-to-10. But if the students aren't communicating among themselves and engaged in the classes, that instruction is of limited value.

    "Kids have to talk," Gandara says. "Most ESL is teachercentric."

    On the surface, Gainesville, Ga., Elementary's ESL ratio of 1-to-40 (six ESL teachers for 237 students) would seem high. But Principal Shawn McCollough notes that those teachers are not seeing 40 kids at a time in a segregated classroom, but are sitting in on mainstream classes and dealing with ESL kids, perhaps, 10 at a time.

    "They're not pullouts; they're inclusion," he says. "So you can serve more kids than it looks like."

    Although it's a widely used practice in Birmingham and elsewhere, McCollough says pullouts are just not the best way to get English learners up to speed.

    "It creates more of a second-class citizen," he says. "Separation and segregation has never been proven to be effective. On the contrary, everything we've seen shows that it hurts kids."

    Katherine Meads, director of second languages for Charlotte-Mecklenburg, says the overall teacher/student ratio at some schools is as high as 1-to-70. But she says those students are scheduled in such a way that they're still getting small-group instruction, on the order of 1-to-8.

    Overall, Meads would like to see her system's ratio drop to about 1-to-30. The district has allocated money for another 25 ESL positions next year, but finding qualified teachers to fill them is another matter.

    "Teacher recruitment is huge right now" as is the general shortage of bilingual teachers, says Wanda Hamilton, who coordinates ESL programs in Harrisonburg, Va., where the ratio is 24 ESL teachers for 1,468 English learners, or 1-to-61. "We don't have any good answers for it."

    At a recent teacher job fair in Harrisonburg, recruiters aggressively pursued candidates who had "Spanish" or "ESL" written on their name tags.

    "When I first came in ... I was afraid to put on my badge because of the interest," says Patrice Seko, a Spanish speaker who is finishing her master's in education at nearby James Madison University.

    ESL students at Birminham's Hayes High says they were frustrated with the absence of school support, saying even two or three more teachers who spoke Spanish would make a difference.

    Project Aprende's Morales acknowledged that when particular attention is paid to ESL students, it can slow the learning pace of English-speaking students. He says he would like to see an after-school program that would help ESL students with both their English and their other subjects.

    "Teachers or tutors could work with them at their different levels," Morales says. He says the school system could avoid high costs by enlisting the help of college interns and other trainees looking for experience.

    "It's new to Alabama that Latinos are here, but it's happened in other states," Morales says. "I think they could be more active."

    ___
    Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God

  2. #2

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    makes me mad too

    In my hometown many years ago there were many (legal) immigrants. mainly from Italy, Yugoslavia and Japan. There were NO bilingual teachers, NO bilingual classes, it was all English immersion, and guess what? IT WORKED! The kids learned English within a few months.

    There was no whining or demanding special treatment. They were all happy to become Americans. and they took their new knowledge of our language home to teach their parents.

    WHY should illegal aliens get special treatment? They should all be deported, evey damn one of them. They are bringing California down to third world status, they're helping to bankrupt our state. We're sick of them.

  3. #3
    Woodpeckerlips's Avatar
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    I am retired from our military and have served in many foreign places. Not one time has the foreign government offered to change their methods of education to accommodate my English speaking to their language. Why should we?

    The over liberalization of our government is on the verge of bankrupting many areas by allowing the illegals more rights than we have. We allow industries to actively recruit illegals and then do not check on their status.

    Is this a great country or what?

    My state, North Carolina, freely allows the illegals to get driver's licenses and that along with false social security cards with a fake green card on the open market for around $2,000 gets them into palaces while the legals are relegated to the outhouses. Visit hospital emergency rooms if there is doubt in what I say. Something is not right and it is in Washington - Senators Kennedy and Kerry for openers who never saw a liberal cause they didn't love.!

    WPL

  4. #4
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Welcome Woodpeckerlips

    Ohflyingone, please dont forget to post the link to the original article when you post news stories like this one.

    W
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  5. #5
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    "In my hometown many years ago there were many (legal) immigrants. mainly from Italy, Yugoslavia and Japan. There were NO bilingual teachers, NO bilingual classes, it was all English immersion, and guess what? IT WORKED! The kids learned English within a few months"

    But these were not 3rd world nationals looking for a free bee hand out. They came because they wanted to be Americans.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  6. #6
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    "Teachers or tutors could work with them at their different levels," Morales says. He says the school system could avoid high costs by enlisting the help of college interns and other trainees looking for experience.

    Mr. Morales:
    Who is paying for this?
    http://www.alipac.us Enforce immigration laws!

  7. #7
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    Sorry William

    I am will try and make sure I include the URL. I am not the best with computers! LOL

    Woodpeckerlips! That is a great name! I still remember watching the woody woodpecker cartoons as a kid! Your name reminds me of that cartoon show! Brings back good memories! I wish we could go back in time.
    Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God

  8. #8
    JustAnotherSavage's Avatar
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    Welcome Woodpeckerlips! What a great handle. LOL.

    Last week I heard a man from LA on the radio. He is a special Ed. teacher, earns $75,000 per year. He has 12 students in his class. ALL illegals.
    We cannot sustain this invasion and it's costs.

  9. #9
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    Welcome Woodpeckerlips,
    to this great web site. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.
    As you can see I am a high tider down at Oak Island.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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