Thursday, January 31, 2008

Supporting Immigrants in ELL (English Language Learning),siegel,78835,12.html/1

I ride the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan everyday. I see people, and hear languages from every corner of the world, reminding me that I live in New York City – the American heart of immigration, historically and today. Immigration is a hot topic on news media, within the Presidential debates and also for the City’s Education Department at the moment. I often overhear fellow citizens balking at immigrants who do not speak adequate English or integrate into American society. I have not seen much introspect as to how we are receiving immigrant youth, what are we doing to make sure that the immigrant population is being integrated? Perhaps, as Jessica Siegel wrote in her article the Village Voice, ‘Finding a High School for an Immigrant Child is Harder than you think.” As tax cuts are occurring and schools are becoming smaller, and already overcrowded in New York City one of the first programs to be cut – or never even commenced – are the ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) programs.
In her article Siegel tells the account of a 16 year-old boy, Ralph Antony who arrived from Haiti in August, joining his extended family in Brooklyn. He and his family were sent on a frustrating journey through five different schools and relentless bureaucratic systems before finding a Public high school that would take him. Either the schools were too crowded, did not have the right programs or found that the student’s English proficiency was not enough. Mayer Bloomburg’s educational restructuring, of the newer smaller schools that were part of his plan, less than 5% include an ELL (English Language Learners) program. Law demands that Public schools include ELL, and in March 2006 a Citywide Council on High schools, a parent group, filed a Civil Rights suit, accusing the Department of Education of discriminating against ELLs and special education. While the group is awaiting some resolution on the case, we find our recently immigrated Ralph Antony being inefficiently handled at one of the 14 public school enrollment centers. According to the account, the staff were unable to provide the services required for an easy registration and enrollment process. Worse than that, the Department of Education is not monitoring which schools have active ELL classes, and those that do not. Many of the new, smaller schools are going off the idea that they must first take a few years to get established before initiating the programs. This illustrates that ELL support is not a priority in the New York School system – So, who is to blame that immigrants are not integrating? So often in Education we easily point our fingers at the students, saying ‘they are not succeeding’ but, how often do we point our fingers at the system, saying ‘we are not providing?’

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

a visual taste

Education Today and Tomorrow

From Burning Drafts to Blogging

In response to 'One Generation Got Old, One Generation Got Soul'

An article in the New York Times education, highlights present-day dissatisfaction for American Politics and the war in Iraq among American youth. Writer Rachel Aviv speaks with some students at the New School who have recently joined the resurrected S.D.S. in search of social change and solidarity during ‘powerless’ times. Although there is dispute on the reputation of the former S.D.S and it’s historic turn towards fundamentalism, it isn’t farfetched to recognize the similarities between the War in Iraq and the division and governmental mistrust that plagued America during the Vietnam War. The S.D.S. was re-inspired following three events – 9/11, Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina. The group aims to combat “racism, and white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, heterosexism and transphobia, authoritarianism and imperialism. Any issue that falls under the rubric of “oppression.” I, as an advocate for social change and movements toward political restructuring, could not agree with more. However, I read on to find that during the second national convention, attended by about 200 members, the students spent a day discussing how ‘not’ to oppress one another. They split into groups based on gender, class, race and sexual orientation. This seems to me what happens so often when we are aiming to prevent something, and we end up creating exactly what we are trying to avoid. Tom Hayden, a former president of S.D.S. made a statement that ‘They’re blogging against the war, they’re not burning draft cards...the war in Iraq vividly demonstrates that the issues of the 60s have not gone away, but this generation has an identity crisis that it will have to resolve on its own.” His inability to support the new branch of S.D.S. could be in his lack of understanding of the new generation. It seems that our rapid technological advancements have, in some cases, created even more of a divide between generations. Though, ex-hippies of that time usually say ‘You’ll never understand how we was the best times, it was....’ And I don’t doubt it, it was a sort of adolescence for America characterized by pivotal, oppressing and simultaneously liberating events. However, I do agree with Hayden on one point, our generation is having an identity crisis. Although, I believe that we are going to need help, and inter-generational partnerships in order to resolve it – we cannot do it alone. I don’t see blogging as less consequential than burning draft cards, our times are different. On the contrary, blogging actually takes away the misconception of borders, and allows us to share ideas and connects us more widely to the global world that we live in. Burning draft cards isn’t going to do much if you don’t have a friend in Mexico that you’ve been communicating with via facebook.
I commend the students and S.D.S. members for becoming involved during a particularly ‘fear-stricken’ era, in which we must mobilize. We must restructure our society from the inside – out, starting with the coming Presidential election, and by living as though we are not oppressed, by being self-empowered citizens of a changed world, a world unlike that of the 60’s. A world in which education and relearning of history is at our fingertips, and blogging is a good starting point for discourse on change.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Globalization and eduction explored at GSE, now at NYU

An interesting article dating back from 04. 'academics, journalists pose the question "how do we educate for a global economy?' The conference was inspired by findings from the published book of essays 'Globalization: Culture and Education in the New Millenium." The co-author and previous Harvard Professor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco is now a full time professor at NYU's Steinhardt. His experience with Globalization has shaped a view that is not limited to an economic standpoint, which has long been the case in the field. Suárez-Orozco is now teaching a course on globalization, immigration and the changing demographics of global cities. The Professor stated at the conference that "No topic today, whether it's the outsourcing of jobs, whether it's the war on terrorism, whether it's the environmental processes, can be contained within the separate domains of individual nation-states."
It is an honor and excitement to be a student at NYU alongside such prestigious work, I hope and look forward to interacting more closely with Professor Suárez-Orozco.