Posted by Ernie Sandoval, a resident of another community, on Nov 23, 2008 at 11:19 pm
Casey Weiss's argument for the funding of schools with ELL students is important, however, there are more things to consider in keeping up with NCLB standards. Patricia Gandara, from the University of California Linguistic Minority Institute, presents research that comprehensively explains the structural inequalities in education for English Language Learners. First off, with 44% of school aged children speaking a language other than English and 85% of these ELL students residing in impoverished households, it is only reasonable that the education of ELL students should be a priority. Weiss points out that schools benefit from high property tax and most of these ELL students go to schools where they do not benefit from high property taxes. Clearly where there is the most need, there is the least help. However, funding barely scratches the surface of the structural inequalities. Gandara points out seven barriers in giving ELL students a fair chance:
1. Inequitable access to appropriately trained teachers
2. Inadequate professional development opportunities to help teachers address the instructional needs of English learners.
3. Inequitable access to appropriate assessment to measure ELL achievement, gauge their learning needs, and hold the system accountable for their progress
4. Inadequate instructional time to accomplish learning goals
5. Inequitable access to instructional materials and curriculum
6. Inequitable access to adequate facilities
7. Intense segregation into schools and classrooms that place them at particularly
Casey Weiss' statement that NCLB is not working because 40 of schools are under Program Improvement is key to understand the next move that our school system must make. It is inhumane to ignore the needs of ELL students. These are innocent children who put their lives in our hands so that we can lead them in the right direction--how will we respond?
Ernie Sandoval, UC Berkeley DTE '10