Educating Hispanic students

How Can Schools Best Educate Hispanic Students? On Education Next, Harvard Education Professor Nonie Lesaux calls for teaching higher-order literacy skills, while Juan Rangel, president of Chicago’s UNO Charter School Network, stresses civic responsibility and good citizenship.

It’s not enough to teach basic conversational and reading skills, writes Lesaux. Students learning English — and their classmates — need to be “in strong and supportive language- and content-rich classrooms” that build academic vocabulary and knowledge.

Schools have done a good job teaching most students the basic skills necessary to be proficient readers in the early grades, decoding and comprehending the conversational language that conveys ideas and topics in beginner books.

But in higher grades, many Hispanic students don’t have the vocabulary and knowledge to comprehend the “academic language of print,” learn academic concepts and “generate ideas and questions,” Lesaux writes.

Immigrants are chasing the American dream, but public schools no longer teach them how to become Americans, Rangel writes. “A quality public school that emphasizes civic responsibility and good citizenship” will . . .  “transition immigrant families into the American way of life, into making American values, culture, norms, and language their own.”

Schools in the UNO network are 95 percent Hispanic in enrollment and 93 percent low-income, but are “classic American schools,” writes Rangel. Instead of special programs, immigrant students — and others — need  “a great teacher, a core curriculum, a disciplined school culture, and strong accountability.” UNO uses Structured English Language Immersion for its students rather than bilingual classes and offers a longer school day and year.


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  1. Florida resident says:

    What some Education Professor in the
    University of Mexico City (they must have such a professor)
    writes about their responsibility to educate Hispanic students ?

    El Colegio de México, A.C. (commonly known as Colmex, English: The College of Mexico) is a prestigious Mexican institute of higher education, specializing in teaching and research in social sciences and humanities.

  2. Florida resident says:

    “Why Charters Skim, and Why They Should Stop”
    From there:
    “Parents are smarter than edupundits, and far more willing to acknowledge the obvious: school quality is primarily about the peers. Low income parents who compete for charter access do so not to get their kids better teachers, but to get them better classmates.”
    I do not have my own experience on the subject, except buying a house in a district with “good public school”.
    With deep respect of heroic work of Ms. Joanne Jacobs,
    your F.r.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    Currently tutoring Nepali immigrant kids in HS. Talked about political machines, etc. So, I says, the ward heeler greets the immigrant on the dock with a bucket of coal courtesy of that nice Mr. Tammany.
    Coal? Okay, we’re off to smushed dinosaurs, concept of billions of years, coal mines, etc.
    Earth science. Concept of where we are being under a mile of ice until about nine thousand years ago. Looks up. Looks sceptical.
    Shield volcano. Because in cross section–what is cross section–it looks like a shield. Okay, here are shields. Target, scutum, shield boss, Greek, Roman, Norman.

    Citizenship. What is that? He was born in a refugee camp in Nepal and got out with his family about fourteen months ago. Jurisdiction? Got him a kid’s version of the Declaration from Williamsburg we visite a couple of months ago. He and his sister are working on it.
    Went over the Bill of Rights. Slow going.
    Problem is, some of this stuff is practically in the marrow of at least middle-class kids born here, and if they don’t know the word or reference, they know what’s right.
    Gonna be slow going for those born elsewhere.

  4. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Can we PLEASE stop pretending that this (and by this I mean the situation being referenced here) is about teaching “Hispanic” kids?

    It’s about teaching a very, very specific type of student, one hit with the double-whammy of being LEP in the United States and in a lower socio-economic environment where academics are neither highly valued nor supported.

    That group is not co-extensive with Hispanics.

    • Richard Aubrey says:

      Michael. You know it. And I know it. But you have to be an Accredited Victim Group to get any ink. Hispanics are. My Nepali friends do not have the advantage. There is no way anybody is going to imply some kind of social fault for the issue of the Nepali kids, to be fixed with “programs” and money.
      Nobody is going to write anything about how tough it is to educate kids from Nepali refugee camps.
      So, while Hispanics and the group in question are not the same, not particularly congruent, the Hispanics will reap the benefits, if any, while the Nepali kids and the white rural kids, and a bunch of others will not.
      Sometimes a gift horse is not such a bad gift.

  5. So, let’s give them special treatment, just because they demand it? They’re not just ‘kids’ like all other ‘kids’ anymore? They’re more equal than all the rest are now?