Thursday, March 04, 2004

DOE outreach to Latinos

Here is an example of how the DOE is trying to reach out to Latinos about education and NCLB.
    NOTE: The following opinion editorial was submitted by Maria Hernandez Ferrier deputy under secretary for the Office of English Language Acquisition at the U.S. Department of Education as PART I of a two part series.

    WASHINGTON, DC--(HISPANIC PR WIRE)--March 4, 2004--Latinos are willing supporters of the key principles embodied in No Child Left Behind (Que Ningún Niño Se Quede Atrás), President George W. Bush's historic education reform plan. This is what the non-partisan Pew Hispanic Center and the Kaiser Family Foundation recently found when they surveyed Hispanics about education issues: Hispanics strongly back the pillars upon which the law is built. Hispanic support for No Child Left Behind, which passed with wide bipartisan support, is well founded. In fact, Hispanic members of Congress overwhelmingly voted for it.

    This revolutionary law, which demands a quality education for all children, is based on four principles: accountability for results, increased flexibility and local control, expanded options for parents, and an emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work. Every state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia now have new accountability plans in place that outline how they will ensure that no child in America is left behind.

    There are many great schools, administrators and teachers in our country, but we all know that many of our children have not received the quality education they need to succeed. The results have been that Hispanics now have the highest dropout rate and some of the lowest test scores, and many are not prepared to enter institutions of higher learning. Currently, only 17 percent of Hispanic fourth-graders read at their grade level, and the percentage is even lower in mathematics. No Child Left Behind now ensures that all children are given basic quality instruction that will give them the opportunity to achieve their greatest academic potential, and it fully provides the resources and flexibility states and school districts need to carry out this national priority.

    Under No Child Left Behind, America’s schools report their success in terms of what each student is learning and accomplishing. They must produce annual state and school district report cards that inform parents and communities about their progress in teaching their students. When schools do not make progress, the districts must provide parents the option of sending their children to other public schools. If the schools continue to lag, districts must provide parents with supplemental services such as free tutoring or other after-school assistance. If a school is still not making adequate yearly progress after several years, dramatic changes must be made to the way the school is operated.
I've written about this Pew/Kaiser report before. I think the report shows that most Latinos (also whites and African-Americans) don't know much about the details of NCLB. While Latinos (and probably most people) support the principles behind NCLB, if they knew more about the consequences and details, I think the story would be quite different.