In Colorado, “early remediation” starts in eighth grade. Students who pass remedial college courses in English and math can enroll in college-level courses as early as 10th grade.
An Arizona nursing student claims she was suspended for complaining that classmates disrupted classes by speaking Spanish. In her lawsuit, Terri Bennett, 50, said classmates spoke Spanish during lessons — apparently translating for non-English speakers — and primarily spoke Spanish during labs, clinicals and other activities. That made it hard for her to learn and created a “hostile environment,” she complained. In addition, the Pima Community College nursing program director called her a “bigot and a bitch,” she charged, before suspending her on charges of intimidation (arguing with an instructor about a test answer), discrimination and harassment.
Students complained that Bennett was harassing and intimidating them for having private conversations in Spanish, David Kutzler, the nursing program director, told the Daily Caller. He denies calling Bennett a “bigot and a bitch.”
I hope USA Today has fixed this headline by now.
ACLU sues California for not inadequate English instruction
LOS ANGELES (AP) — About 20,000 students in California who need to learn English aren’t getting adequate language instruction, according to a lawsuit against the state and education workers filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Academics are pointless, Ilana Garon’s students at a Bronx high school told her. ”When am I ever going to need Shakespeare? Or geometry?”
When asked, two said they wanted to be astronauts. A third wants to be an actress. “You want to be astronauts, and you think you’re not going to need math?” Garon asked. She turned to the actress. “Or English?”
They were certain that most of what they were learning in high school was totally irrelevant to their future career choices.
Garon supports alternatives to the traditional “college for all” academic path such as trade and career-tech programs. Her “students also need a crash course in career awareness.” Many careers — IT, accounting, engineering, hospitality management — are off their radar. They don’t know the skills and habits the workforce requires.
The U.S. showing on that international reading test is better than you might think, writes Dan Willingham. Learning to read English is a lot harder than learning to read most other languages — including Finnish. English has a “deep orthography.” Finnish is “shallow.”
His conclusion: ”Early elementary teachers in the US are doing a good job with reading despite teaching reading in a language that is difficult to learn.”
Students are begging for math and English classes at the Bronx High School for Medical Science, a magnet school. While honors students can take enough classes to graduate after three years, juniors in the non-honors track are being told they’ll be able to make up core classes — eventually — and earn enough credits to graduate.
Two juniors, Eddie Duarte and Kavoy Mayne, met with a guidance counselor, who also insisted that the school was short on teachers, the students said.
Duarte even asked his wrestling coach, who teaches math and science at another school in the Taft Educational Campus where Medical Science is located, if the coach could teach him trigonometry.
“Our SATs are coming up,” Eddie said. “I don’t understand how we’re supposed to be ready for those without math or English.”
The school employs five English teachers and six math teachers for its 460 students, which should be enough, says the school district. Do they have tiny classes for the honors students?
University enrollment has soared by 30 percent in China in recent years, but graduates are having trouble finding jobs, reports Online Colleges. “It’s estimated that one-third of China’s 5.6 million 2008 graduates were unemployed during their first year after school.”
In addition to electrical and mechanical engineering, medicine, accounting, architecture and business management, the top 10 include English (not many jobs, but it helps with study in the U.S.), journalism (way too many graduates for the jobs) and law (too many graduates.)
With lots of poor students and low graduation rates, public schools in Macon, Georgia and surrounding Bibb County face lots of problems, reports NPR. Haitian-born superintendent Romain Dallemand’s “Macon Miracle” has brought longer school days, year-round instruction and mandatory Mandarin Chinese instruction for every student, pre-K through 12th grade.
“Students who are in elementary school today, by 2050 they’ll be at the pinnacle of their career,” Dallemand says. “They will live in a world where China and India will have 50 percent of the world GDP. They will live in a world where, if they cannot function successfully in the Asian culture, they will pay a heavy price.”
This school year, Dallemand is rolling out Mandarin in stages, a few sessions a week, with the youngest kids starting first. In three years, it will be at every grade level.
A Mandarin teacher costs the district only $16,000 a year, because they’re subsidized by the Confucius Institute, which is partially funded by the Chinese government.
Some parents are dubious.
“Bibb County is not known for producing the highest-achieving graduates,” says Macon resident Dina McDonald. “You’ll see that many of them can’t even speak basic English.”
McDonald herself has a ninth-grader in the public schools and says she can imagine some students going into fields where Mandarin could be useful, like international business, technology or law. But with lower achievers, she says, “Do you want to teach them how to say, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ in Mandarin?”
The superintendent says children will rise to high expectations.
A friend of mine helped start a multilingual magnet school in Detroit in the ’80s. Black parents who worked in the auto industry lined up to get their kids into Japanese language classes, thinking that it was the language of the future.
Second-generation Hispanic women are leading a surge in college enrollment, but graduation rates remain low for Hispanics from immigrant families.
Few immigrants succeed without learning English, but many are on wait lists to get classes, writes Gail Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College.
New York City’s community colleges will work with museums to teach immigrants English through art.
South Korean students are learning English from robots controlled by teachers in the Philippines. The Engkey robots are teaching at 21 elementary schools in the southeastern city of Daegu.
The 3-1/2-foot-tall, egg-shaped device, developed by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), has a TV display screen for a face. The human teachers can see and listen to the students through the remote link and can direct the robots to move around the classroom, “dance” to music, play educational games and sing songs with the children.
The robots display an avatar face of a Caucasian woman, but cameras detect the Filipino teachers’ facial expressions and reflect them on the avatar’s face, Sagong Seong-Dae, a senior scientist at KIST, told Agence France Presse.
“Well-educated, experienced Filipino teachers are far cheaper than their counterparts elsewhere, including South Korea,” he told AFP.
Apart from reading books, the robots use pre-programmed software to sing songs and play alphabet games with the children.
“The kids seemed to love it since the robots look, well, cute and interesting. But some adults also expressed interest, saying they may feel less nervous talking to robots than a real person,” said Kim Mi-Young, an official at Daegu city education office.
Robots may be sent to rural areas where foreign English teachers are reluctant to work. However, Kim said the experiment isn’t designed to replace human teachers. “We are helping upgrade a key, strategic industry and all the while giving children more interest in what they learn.”
“Having robots in the classroom makes the students more active in participating, especially shy ones afraid of speaking out to human teachers,” Kim said.
Korean scientists have been experimenting with using robots to teach math, science and other subjects.
“They won’t complain about health insurance, sick leave and severance package, or leave in three months for a better-paying job in Japan,” Sagong said.