L.A. Unified's English learner action upsets parents, teachers
As the district moves to enforce a policy of grouping pupils of similar English fluency ability together, those opposed protest.
By Teresa Watanabe
October 19, 2013
Luis Gaytan, the 5-year-old son of Mexican immigrants who speak Spanish at home, was so terrified by kindergarten that he would barely talk - prompting classmates to tease that he didn't have a tongue.
In the last two months, at Granada Elementary Community Charter, Luis has gained a growing command of the language in a class of students with a mixed range of English ability. His father, Jorge, is convinced that his son is learning English more quickly because he hears it every day from more-advanced classmates.
But Luis - and thousands of other Los Angeles Unified students - is being moved into new classes with those at a similar language level under an order that has sparked a storm of protest. In recent weeks, a group of southeast L.A. principals have mounted a rare challenge to district policy, teachers have flooded their union office with complaints, and parents have launched protest rallies and petition drives urging L.A. Unified to postpone the class reorganizations until next year.
"Kids with little or no English are going to be segregated and told they're not good enough for the mainstream," said Cindy Aranda-Lechuga, a Granada mother of a kindergartner who gathered 162 parent signatures seeking a postponement and spoke against the policy at an L.A. Board of Education meeting last week. "Kids learn from their peers, and they're not going to be able to do that anymore."
Read the full article at http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-adv-english-learners-20131020,0,1836196.story#axzz2iUug2k00
Read related articles at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/2013/10/schools_react_to_la_unifieds_e.html and http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2013/1021/Los-Angeles-schools-plan-for-non-English-speakers-Segregation-or-solution