Thursday, December 20, 2012

The "No Child Left Behind" Act For Immigrant Children


In our nationally-adopted No Child Left Behind Act, Title I- Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged cites its Statement of Purpose in Section 1001 as follows: "The purpose of this title is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments. This purpose can be accomplished by meeting the educational needs of low-achieving children in our Nation's highest-poverty schools, limited English proficient children, migratory children, children with disabilities, Indian children, neglected or delinquent children, or young children of reading assistance."

Part A of Section 3102 is devoted to English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement Act with stated purposes:
(1)  To help ensure that children who are limited English proficient, including immigrant children and youth, attain English proficiency, develop high levels of academic attainment in English, and meet the same challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards as all children are expected to meet.

Avalon is the perfect example of a community needing assistance from No Child Left Behind funds, with 75% of the city's population consisting of Hispanics/Latinos, most of which are second language learners. When I was laid off from my Kindergarten teaching position in 2009, statistics were exactly that... 75% of our Kindergartners in our two Kindergarten classrooms were limited English proficient and, adding to our challenges, was the fact there is NO Head Start Program on Catalina Island! Consequently, most Kindergarten students came to us with "blank slates!"

Corporate Headquarters Of "No Child Left Behind"

(6)  To promote parental and community participation in language instruction educational programs for the parents and communities of limited English proficient children.

Community participation by teachers commuting to and from this remote Island are limited by their boat schedules. Commuting teachers board the 6:15 A.M. boat in Long Beach, arriving on the Island just in time for the school day to begin at 8:00 A.M. They remain on the school grounds until their day ends around 2:30 P.M. for the elementary grade levels and 3:00 P.M. for the upper grade teachers. Then, they hurry to catch the next boat off the Island at 3:45 P.M. or they will have to wait until 7:30 P.M., which makes a very long work day as it takes over an hour to get home. In fact, if have to take the last boat, they would literally get home in time to go to bed so they can get up at 5:00 A.M. to return to work on the Island!

That being said, teachers unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices of living on the Island during the school year have limited opportunities in working with parents to help their students and have been known to not be around to participate in the activities of this remote Island community after school hours, which is quite a contrast to those like me who counseled and encouraged parents and students around every corner, as I walked the streets of Avalon!

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