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1 The Key to Success Lack of school funding is a key problem many urban schools across this country are currently facing. According to a recent USA Today report “America’s Richest and Poorest School Districts,” the authors talk about how most of the public schools’ funding comes from their district’s property tax. They add that even though schools in poorer neighborhoods do receive some help from the federal level to make their ends meet, still they are significantly under funded in comparison to other districts where the per pupil expenditure is over $20,000. Students who live in poverty, live in poor neighborhoods and districts, which leads their local schools to have barely the necessary funds to run, yet not able to provide a variety of additional programs, like those found in other schools. These lack of funds affect the student’s ability to learn and how successful they are academically. For instance according to a recent 2015 study by the Department of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics, in the Detroit public school district 96 percent of eighth graders are not proficient in mathematics, and 93 are not proficient in reading (CNS News 2015). In other words, these students are not understanding the material and it is up to us, the people to try and fix the system that in my opinion is the one failing the students, not the other way around. In the long run if this issue is not solved then we well begin to see an increase in levels of poverty as less educated people, get fewer opportunities in life. However, lack of school funds is not a recent issue, in David B. Tyack’s “The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education,” he talks about how in the nineteenth century when the urban school system was being implemented for the first time, many viewed the placement of funds in music or drawing as unnecessary, leading many schools to cut funding within these fields of study. 2 Unfortunately some of these preconceived notions towards certain areas of study within public school still remain to this day. Within some districts some schools are led to when lacking resources be prone to cut out art and music classes from their curriculum as pointed out by Donna Copper and Maud Lyon in their recent article on how schools are starving within arts education. These courses as pointed out by the authors are seen as electives, even though psychologists have actually talked about how having a well-rounded school curriculum allows students to explore their creative thinking. Not only does a lack of school funding in urban areas affect student’s learning ability through a lack of physical resources such as lack of certain classes or learning materials, but also by leading their teachers to be overwhelmed, unavailable to pay them the necessary attention. Teachers in many underfunded schools, tend to many times be forced to take many different positions within the school, as well as have a larger amount of children in their classroom, which forces them to experience higher levels of anxiety and unavailable to offer a good quality education as exposed by Jonathan Kozol in his piece “Confections of Apartheid.” Piece in which he also mentions how the standardized testing system, has prone many of these underfunded schools to ignore their lowest achieving students, making such unable to potential continue on with their education. Even though there are people who argue that charter schools, currently may aid some of these children who are not receiving a quality education, the truth of the matter is that these schools are becoming extremely segregated as pointed out by Frankenberg and SiegelHawley in their piece “Choice Without Equity,” leading children to not get a more world-related educational experience. Charter schools may not offer a solid solution because according to the authors’ research they not only are prone to segregate by race but also by income, furthering this disparity that continues to grow between the privileged and the unprivileged. 3 It is therefore crucial for students living in poverty, most located in urban areas to get someone to lend them a hand to succeed and hopefully escape the cycle of poverty. That is why I intend on creating a reality show titled “The Key to Success” where the show’s main mission will be, “To educate the future of America by providing them with the necessary resources.” My reality show will address the economic disparities that exist within many urban schools in this country, and how these inequalities tend to negatively affect the students’ performance. My program’s main goal is to show people that we can all be successful in life, we just need the necessary resources in order to succeed. People will be moved by learning the stories behind some our contestants as well as me motivated to take initiate and push the government for much needed education reform. I believe that my show will not only help the participants in question by giving them a one in a life time educational opportunity, but also the audience that each week tunes in to see the show. The audience will get the opportunity to learn about the country’s current educational situation, as well as be involved in the topics and presentations the children are exposed to within the boarding school the TV will create. On this note, I hope my audience to be people across all demographics, as we all have something to learn from this show. They will not only find data with regards to where the U.S. current public school system stands, but also be emerged into interesting topics such Oceanography, which is a topic not talked much about. I believe that specially school officials, teachers, and students can look at the boarding school implemented and try to emulate some of the learning techniques implements, as well as the tips and tricks to studying offered by the TV professors. As a result, both the participants and hopefully audience members as well will be exposed to ways in which they can increase their education. In an effort to keep audience members engaged, and to hopefully attract young 4 viewers, the show will also be providing viewers who call submit a brief application online, the opportunity to win one out of five $10,000 scholarships. The reality show will begin by asking students between the ages of thirteen and twenty to apply to the show, they have to be currently enrolled in a public urban high school. Not only can they themselves apply, but they can also be nominated by teachers, parents, school counselors, or other classmates. Second, my production team and I will select twenty participants (approximately ten girls and ten boys) who we believe possess great moral character and will move them all to a house, boarding school style, very prestige looking, provide them all with uniforms, and of course divide them by gender, there would be girls’ house and a boys’ house. The students will be provided with a plethora of educational resources (e.g. computers, library, project supplies, etc.) and each week will be taking classes taught by some of the most recognized professors in the subject in question. We will explore a variety of topics, and provide them with courses not typically taught in a regular urban public high school (e.g. Oceanography, African American History, Carpentry, Accounting Principles, Drama, Web Design Courses) all in an effort to create well rounded individuals. Helping students particularly in science related topics, area where students in urban settings have been seeing an exponential data decline according to an article published by Angela Calabrese Barton and Christina Berchini “Becoming an Insider: Teaching Science in Urban Settings.” The authors point out how schools located in urban settings most of the time are unable to fund certain projects, which require for instance materials to create chemical reactions, all crucial to provide students with a hands on educational experience. Unfortunately many science teacher are left to just teach the outlined course textbook, which through studies they have analyzed, such trend tends to disengage students, making them be prone to experience boredom (Barton and Berchini 22). 5 Such lack of student motivation can be observed in the achievement gap described in Gloria Ladson-Billing’s “From the Achievement Gap to Education Debt” piece where she points outs the standardized test scores disparities that exist between students in districts such as Highland Park, where the per pupil expenditure is nearly half as much as that spent in Chicago’s public schools (Ladson-Billings 4). Ladson-Billings also makes the connection between the low test scores and lack there of advanced placement programs and extracurricular activities which also affect students’ learning experience, decreasing their possibilities of potentially going to college. That is why each week the students within my reality TV boarding school will not only take quizzes or tests in each subject, as well as be in charge of creating a one-group project for a class, the projects will rotate each week, but also be offered a wide range of extracurricular activities (e.g. swimming, soccer, piano, foreign language) for which they may choose one activity. At the end of each week, their tests and quizzes scores, their projects scores (for which all students involved in the project will receive the same grade), as well as their fan’s score (provided by phone or through social media- fans will vote on a scale of one to ten) will determine their weekly grade. This grade is really important because at the end of the three month boarding school program the student with the highest number of points will be given a $250,000 scholarship to help fund their college education at the college of their choosing and if money permits, they can even use remaining amount of money for a graduate degree. Second place will get a $100,000 scholarship, third place will obtain a $50,000 scholarship, and the remaining contestants will all obtain some sort of prize such as gift cards to certain bookstores, all in the means of trying to aid them with their future education. The show also intends on helping urban school communities be more successful not by inspiring to push for much needed change, but also by providing the winner’s school $70,000 for a new computer lab. 6 My reality show will through a series of flashbacks revealing the participants’ background history, similar to how it is done in many popular shows in TV today (e.g. American Idol, The X Factor), where the audience get the opportunity to learn the struggles the participants had to go through before coming on the show. We will focus each week on a different participant showing video excerpts of their urban high schools, showing our viewers at home some of the struggles many of these students have to go through in order to receive an education. Highlighting their lack of electronic as well as physical resources at their schools, comparing and contrasting their school’s test averages results to some of the highest ranked high schools in the nation, showing how results vary drastically. Once the show is over, the production team and I will keep in touch with the participants trying to check on how they are doing, seeing if we can aid them in any way possible. The neat thing about this experience is that participants whether they are first or last place, get the opportunity to create bonds with people around their same age group, learning about a variety of topics on the hands of world recognized experts, and will be able to include this experience as reference for applying to college. At the end the participants would have accomplished a rigorous, but yet engaging educational summer program, which may open their doors to more opportunities in the near future. Even though, the production company will have to first see if the show is successful or not, I intend of having in four to five years after the season in question is over “Reunions,” where the audience will have to the opportunity to see what the students are now doing, and learn how this experience changed their life for the good. Therefore, showing people how these one in a lifetime opportunities, as well as the investment in children’s education, actually helps to improve their lives. It would also be appealing to see the scholarship winners and get to know how their lives must have completely changed after going to a poor 7 urban high school and suddenly in their hands have the monetary resources to follow whatever career path they choose in the school of their dreams. In conclusion, my intended reality show “The Key to Success” will offer the audience a quick look into the U.S.’s current education system, as well as expose how a lack of money in certain urban districts negatively impacts students’ learning. I hope at the end people understand the magnitude of this problem and truly realize that it is not the children’s fault, but the way the current education system structured, which tends to disenfranchise children living in poverty, many of whom are also part of an racial minority. Many of the students in this country are not failing because of a lack of interest but more so because of a lack of resources. This reality TV will open the door to twenty students from different urban high schools across the nation to a unique one in a lifetime opportunity boarding school, where they will be able to if complete the program successfully, obtain a $250,000 scholarship. Audiences will learn along with the students the different school topics the children are being exposed to at the boarding school. Hopefully people from all ages and demographics, watch the show, however teachers and school officials most importantly as they are the ones more prone to act on the change we want to see in the future. Works Cited: 1. Barton, Angela Calabrese. “Becoming an Insider: Teaching Science in Urban Settings.” 8 Routledge Taylor and Francis Group. 2013. The College of Education and Human Ecology, Ohio State University. Web. 09 June 2016. 2. Cooper, Donna & Lyon Maud. “Schools are Starving for arts education.” The Notebook. Sept. 11 2015. Philadelphia Public Schools. Web. 08 June 2016. URL: http://thenotebook.org/articles/2015/09/11/schools-are-starving-for-artseducation 3. Frakenberg, Erica & Siegel-Hawley, Genevieve. “Choice Without Equity: Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards.” Education Digest. Jan. 2011. Prakken Publications. Web. 09 June 2016. 4. Jeffrey, Terence P. “ Detroit Public Schools: 93% Not Proficient in Reading; 96% Not Proficient in Math” CNS News. 28 Oct. 2015. Media Research Center. Web. 08 June 2016. URL: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/detroit-publicschools-93-not-proficient-reading-96-not-proficient 5. Kozol, Jonathan. “The Shame of the Nation: Confections of Apartheid- A Stick and Carrot Pedagogy for the Children of our Inner City Poor.” Phi Delta Kappan. Dec. 2005. The H.W. Wilson Company. Web. 09 June 2016. 6. Ladson-Billings, Gloria. “2006 Presidential Address: From The Achievement Gap to the Education Debt: Understanding Achievement in U.S. Schools.” Educational Researcher. Oct. 2006. ProQuest Education Journal. Web. 09 June 2016. 7. Sauter, Michael B.; Frohlich, Thomas C.; Stebbins, Sam; & Lomen, Evan. “America’s 9 richest and poorest school districts.” Money Today. 03 Oct. 2015. USA Today News. Web. 08 June 2016. URL: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/10/03/24-7-wall-strichest-poorest-school-districts/73205874/ 8. Tyack, David B. The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1974. Print. LISTENING TO TEACHERS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS A Survey of California Teachers’ Challenges, Experiences, and Professional Development Needs Patricia Gándara • Julie Maxwell-Jolly • Anne Driscoll Listening to Teachers of English Language Learners is the product of collaboration between Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning (The Center), and the University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute (UC LMRI). Founded in 1983 as a cooperative venture between the schools of education at UC Berkeley and Stanford University, PACE is an independent policy research center whose primary aim is to enrich education policy debates with sound analysis and hard evidence. From issues around pre-schooling and child development, to K-12 school finance, to higher education outreach, PACE is dedicated to defining issues thoughtfully and assessing the relative effectiveness of alternative policies and programs. PACE provides analysis and assistance to California policy-makers, education professionals, and the general public. The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning is made up of education professionals, scholars, and public policy experts who care deeply about improving the schooling of California’s children. The Center was founded in 1995 as a public nonprofit organization with the purpose of strengthening the capacity of California’s teachers to deliver a rigorous, well-rounded curriculum and ensuring the continuing intellectual, ethical and social development of all children. In addition to a wide variety of policy-oriented studies, the Center annually publishes a comprehensive analysis of the status of the state’s teaching profession. The UC Linguistic Minority Research Institute is a multi-campus research unit of the University of California established in 1984 to pursue “...knowledge applicable to educational policy and practice in the area of language minority students’ academic achievement and knowledge,” including their access to the University of California and other institutions of higher education. Funding for this initiative was graciously provided by: Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Stuart Foundation Copyright © 2005. The Regents of the University of California. Permission is hereby granted to use this report for nonprofit teaching, research or public service uses. The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning 133 Mission Street, Suite 220 Santa Cruz, CA 95060 www.cftl.org Listening to Teachers of English Language Learners A Survey of California Teachers’ Challenges, Experiences, and Professional Development Needs Patricia Gándara Julie Maxwell-Jolly Anne Driscoll The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning 133 Mission Street, Suite 220 Santa Cruz, CA 95060 www.cftl.org Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 High Quality and Effective Teaching for English Learners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 The Study Sample . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Teacher Challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Effects of Teacher Certification and Professional Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Need for Teacher Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Summary of Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Appendix A1: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Authorizations for Working with English Language Learners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Appendix A2: Teacher Ethnicity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Appendix A3: OLS Regression Models Predicting Elementary and Secondary Teachers’ Self-rated Ability to Teach ELs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Appendix A4: Percent of Elementary, Secondary and All Teachers Reporting Reasons Why They Found Particular Kinds of In-service Most Helpful . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 LISTENING TO TEACHERS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS Introduction The students in California’s public schools come from a wide variety of ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. Almost 1.6 million, approximately 25%, of these youngsters are classified as English Learners or “ELs”1 and require special assistance from their teachers and schools to meet the state’s rigorous academic content standards while also learning English. With 32% of all EL students in the country, California has a higher concentration of English learners than anywhere else in the U.S. California’s growth in EL students is also greater than the rest of the nation. Most of the state’s English learners, 85%, are Spanish speakers, with only five other language groups (Vietnamese, Filipino, Cantonese, Hmong, Korean) even reaching the level of 1 to 2 percent of the EL population. The rest of the state’s EL students speak one of 51 other primary languages catalogued in the latest California language census. An additional one million students come from homes where a language other than English is spoken. Overall, students who speak a language other than English at home account for 40% of California’s K-12 school population [1]. Addressing the education needs of this population of students is critical to California’s future not only because of their increasing numbers, but because the majority of these students are not thriving in California schools [2]. While this debate continues outside the classroom, inside the classroom teachers are called on to meet the challenge of teaching English learner students every day. Teachers who speak their students’ home language and those who do not, teachers with special training and those without, teachers who have years of experience and those who have taught for only weeks are in front of classrooms with EL students. Just as teachers vary in preparation and experience,2 their English learner students have diverse academic, language, and social needs. In addition to the wide variety of languages they speak, ELs also have a wide range of previous life and schooling experiences, and those who are immigrants come from many different countries with differing cultural traditions. California Student Population As long as students with limited English language skills have attended California schools a debate has raged among educators and policy-makers regarding how best to educate these children. A major focal point of this debate is bilingual education. That is, the viability, advisability, and effectiveness of using students’ primary language in instruction. However, everyone agrees that ELs must learn English, learn it well, and meet rigorous standards. No matter what the method or program of instruction, teachers of English language learners need special skills and training to effectively accomplish this task. English learner or English language learner is the term currently used by the California Department of Education to refer to students who have not passed an English language proficiency test or met academic standards in English that fulfill the state’s criteria for the definition of English language proficiency. 2. Appendix A1 provides an overview of the various types of EL related California teaching credentials. 1. 1 LISTENING TO TEACHERS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS Teachers are both on the front line and responsible for the bottom line when it comes to providing these students with the skills and knowledge they will need to survive and thrive in U.S. society. Yet seldom are teachers invited to share their experiences and their concerns with those who shape education policy. It is critical to ascertain the perspectives of teachers who have so central a role and such a large stake in these issues if instruction for EL students is to significantly improve. The state of California has a huge stake in how these students fare academically, and although most learn to speak English, the majority of ELs do not achieve at levels that will provide them—or the state—with much of a future. Only 10% of English learners were able to pass the English Language Arts portion of the California Standards Test in spite of the fact that 47% passed the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) of English proficiency in 2004 [2]. Moreover, only 39% 3. of EL students were able to pass the English Language Arts portion of the California High School Exit Exam in 2004 compared to 81% of English speakers (including both English-only and former EL students), and only 49% of ELs could pass the math portion compared with 78% of their English proficient peers. It is not surprising, then, that we find that only 29% of EL students in Los Angeles high schools are still in school four years after entering the 9th grade.3 For all of these reasons, we set out to ask teachers about their greatest challenges with regard to educating English learners, to analyze how these challenges vary according to factors such as teacher experience, training, and student need, and to discover the kinds of support they have—and need—for doing their jobs effectively. Data from the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. English Learners in California Public Schools 2 LISTENING TO TEACHERS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS High Quality and Effective Teaching for English Learners Although empirical studies are limited, we do have some knowledge of the kinds of preparation that teachers need to be successful with linguistic minority students, based on qualitative studies and expert opinion. Syntheses of these studies find that the most successful teachers of EL students have identifiable pedagogical and cultural skills and knowledge including the ability to communicate effectively with students and to engage their families [3,4,5]. They also have extensive skills in teaching the mechanics of language and how it is used in different contexts and for different purposes [6]. Good Knowledge and Skills That Contribute to Successful EL Teaching • Ability to communicate with students • Ability to engage students’ families • Knowledge of language uses, forms, mechanics, and how to teach these • A feeling of efficacy with regard to teaching English language learners EL teachers also have a sense of self-confidence regarding their ability to teach EL students [7], a finding that echoes a broader body of research on teacher efficacy in general and its effect on student achievement [8, 9, 10, 11]. The quality and extent of teacher preparation is therefore critical; although teachers cannot be assigned either all the credit or all the blame for student achievement, they play a central role in students’ education. This is particularly true for students who are especially vulnerable, such as English learners. A large body of research finds that teachers with knowledge of teaching and learning gained in education coursework [12]; deep content knowledge [13]; a quality education that results in higher scores on teacher certification tests [14, 15]; full certification in their field [16, 17]; a Master’s degree [14]; and experience [18, 19, 14] make a difference in student achievement. Furthermore, the effects of a good—or bad—teacher persist over time [20, 21, 22, 23]. A recent study of the effect of the best-prepared teachers on EL student learning, conducted in the Los Angeles Unified School District, found that the students of teachers with specialized training and who spoke the students’ language showed greater academic gains than those with teachers who lacked such preparation [24]. In summary, English learners represent large and increasing numbers of California’s school children and these students have academic and language challenges beyond those of most students. Further, teacher quality is critical to student learning; teacher preparation and expertise are part of the quality equation, but teachers of EL students often lack that preparation and expertise.4 What we did not know, and what we aimed to find out in this study, was 1) the most difficult challenges teachers face in EL classrooms every day, 2) how teachers themselves view their knowledge and preparation for meeting the needs of these students, and 3) their views on the professional development and other support that would best help them meet those challenges. Educator responses to these questions provide the data for this report. Factors that Contribute to Effective Instruction • • • • Knowledge of teaching and learning Deep content knowledge Experience Full certification in the field The Center has reported in California’s Teaching Force 2004: Key Issues and Trends that in the school year 2003-04, schools with the greatest proportion of ELs have, on average, 11% underprepared teachers. 4. 3 LISTENING TO TEACHERS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS The Study Sample The survey we used for this study was designed by our team based on a review of literature on teacher effectiveness and satisfaction, a review of previously conducted teacher survey studies, and our own studies in schools and classrooms with EL students. We piloted the survey in the winter of 2003 and began the study in the spring of 2004. We used both a paper and pencil and an online version of the survey, and found no significant differences in response patterns between the two survey methods. Our goal in devising this sample was to include teachers from districts that represent the geographic, demographic, economic, and programmatic diversity of California’s school districts. We also sought to include teachers with varying credentials and training (Appendix A1), who were teaching English language learners in a variety of programs including bilingual, dual immersion, structured English immersion, and mainstream. With these goals in mind, we approached scores of districts around the state where there was interest in these issues, and thus where we might gain permission to contact teachers and ask for their participation. Ultimately, teachers from 22 small, medium and large districts participated in the study, with the majority coming from 10 principal districts. In addition to the survey, four focus groups were conducted, each in a different geographic region with different program and demographic characteristics. The insights gathered from these groups helped us make sense of the survey data and added depth to the findings. Almost 5,300 educators responded to the online or paper and pencil survey. Of these, approximately 4,500 were currently working in the classroom and 4,000 were working in regular (not resource) classrooms with EL students. Although not randomly selected, the study participants reflect the demographics for teachers in the state of California with regard to gender5 and ethnicity (Appendix A2). They also closely reflect the state profile of teachers with specialized training for working with English language learners. The percentages of teachers with a Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic Development (CLAD) authorization generally mirror state CLAD numbers collected by the CDE. The 11% of our respondents with a Bilingual, Cross-cultual, Language, and Academic Development (BCLAD) authorization 5. 4 Approximately 78% of our respondents were female, close to the 72% of the statewide teacher pool that is female. LISTENING TO TEACHERS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS Table 1 % Teachers with In and Out of Class Assistance for ELs by Classroom Model Any In-class Assistance Any Out-of-class Assistance Mainstream Model 38.6 54.8*** All Other Models 39.1 47.3 ***p
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Running head: THE SKEWED SYSTEM

The Skewed System

Student Name
Institution Affiliation

1

THE SKEWED SYSTEM

2
I.

Introduction

The education system is designed to be an equalizer in society and a pathway to a better
life for most people. However, the US education system has not enabled the envisioned equality
due to disparities. Minority students face unequal access to education as compared to white
peers. The lack of sufficient funding of schools in poorer neighborhoods as compared to the
schools in more affluent neighborhoods has exacerbated the education quality in the US
education system. Minority students in the US face a myriad of challenges in their quest to
achieve academic success in the classroom. Among these challenges is lack of adequate funding
for the institutions in the more impoverished areas of the society, cultural problems and societal
stereotypes, disproportionate representation of minority students such as ELL and the large gap
in terms of academic content that exists between the minority students and the non-minority
students. These challenges affect the student's ability to perform academically due to the
disparities that exist in comparison with the White students. Every student deserves a chance to
succeed academically, and hence there is a need to identify the challenges that minority students
face in American schools and its impact on their academic performance. In this article, I discuss
the difficulties faced by minority students and more specifically, immigrant students.
II.

Educational Content disparities

Education content is crucial in ensuring quality education has been accessed to the
students. According to the US Department of education, by 2020 the US will have at least 50%
of students as culturally diverse or bilingual in public schools (McComas, 2014). This shows that
US society is becoming culturally diverse. However, the education content has been unfair to the
growing number of culturally diverse population as it is skewed in favor of white students.

THE SKEWED SYSTEM

3

Indeed, there has been a gap in terms of the quality of educational content advocated the
minority students as compared to the native students in the US education system. The content
gap has indeed affected the access to quality education and also equality to the relevant
information for minority students (Artiles, Rueda, Salazar and Higareda, 2005). The reason this
gap has increased is that teachers expect white students to learn at a slower rate than white
students who do not experience any challenges.
The teacher attitudes thus have caused the minority students to be treated differently as
white students tend to be perceived more positively than minority students. Indeed, even black
teachers have been shown to perceive white students more positively than black students
surprisingly. The language differences due to cultural variety should not affect the access to
quality education. The teachers rather than consider the cultural differences and make
appropriate changes to reduce the content disparities, they choose to refer these students to
special classes that allow them to be identified as disabled about learning the ability. This only
increases the content disparity for the minority students. The teacher should thus be educated on
how to change their attitudes towards minority students who come from different countries and
cultures. Developing an understanding and being sensitive to their academic needs is crucial in
creating equality that is crucial in a fair education system. This should target both preservice
teachers as well as in-service teachers to ensure a holistic solution.
III.

Ineffective ELL Programs

The minority student's population has been treated as having uniform needs and
requirements which disadvantages their access to a fair education. Indeed, it is unfair to fail to
view the challenges of different linguistic challenges from an objective perspective and develop

THE SKEWED SYSTEM

4

uniform policies aimed at helping the whole population with regards to the language barrier. The
government has undertaken various efforts meant to address the disproportionate interventions
such as the federally funded assistance centres such as the Center for Minority Research
Assistance Center. As well as the LASER program (Gallardo, 2011). Despite this intervention by
the government, there is a need to develop more dynamic solutions that are objective and
student-oriented.
The research has not majored in on the gaps that need to be addressed in this field, and
hence solutions offered have not been as effective as they should. The cultural issues should be
identified, and the students should be given equal opportunities and not treated differently to
allow for uniform growth (Hadijah and Shalawati, 2018). Adjustments need to be made to factor
in the language barrier in terms of content reception and also develop the necessary measures to
ensure that white students and minorities are given equal opportunity to succeed. It is crucial for
the teachers and education stakeholders that...


Anonymous
Really useful study material!

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