Town Square

Schools' improvements lag with financial help

Original post made on Nov 21, 2008

Every year, Latino, English language learners, and low-income students are tested in local schools, and every year they fall behind the Asian and white students in their class. Due to their lack of English skills, these students often are handicapped from the start, and without costly extra attention, often struggle to meet academic targets and continue to drag down a school's test scores.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 20, 2008, 10:34 AM


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Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 21, 2008 at 8:52 am

I take issue with the term Latinos in the opening statement. There are plenty of children of Latino descent in Mountain View and California who are not responsible for declining test scores. Rather, it is the huge wage of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Latin America beyond that are the main cause of this. This articles lumps all legal resident and citizen Latinos in with illegals and obliquely blames them for declining test scores.

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Posted by Randall Flagg
a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 21, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Pandering to Spanish-only speakers by providing social services and government documents in Spanish is an insult to all immigrants who wish to assimilate and a distinct handicap to the children of those who insist on speaking Spanish at home. Russian, Arab, and Asian immigrants have to learn a whole new ALPHABET, and they do. We should not pour money on people who refuse to assimilate. They are not immigrants, they are colonials.

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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

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Posted by John
a resident of another community
on Nov 25, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Ernie, you raise some valid points, if the "students" are in the USA legally that is. That is the problem. Too many are not and the tax dollars used take away from students who are in the country legally. We cannot educate the world. The State spends 10 billion a year on illegal aliens for education, medical care and welfare. Enough is enough. That is the reason for the "inequitable and inadequate facilities" you write about.