Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Addressing equity challenges and the ELL crisis...Ana Morales

Addressing the equity challenges and ELL crisis, Ana Cano Morales gives her experience of being an English Language Learner in an un-accepting society. Most of the students who were in the auditorium seemed to be education majors, teachers, or possibly in masters programs. Ana started off with talking about herself as being something of a "warrior" for surviving educational systems for many years, then going off to college and then to get her masters. She talked about Latinos as being an oppressed group, despite being in majority for Rhode Island. "Latinos hold vastly less wealth then white Americans." She mentioned that economic conditions and educational outcomes in youth significantly behind that of others. This economic difference is most likely contributing to achievement disparities. Ana mentioned the importance of young Latinos as they see themselves in other professions. Those who have English as their second language struggle in school systems to feel as though their culture is cherished. They speak one language at home, and a completely different one at school. This can be confusing for some, and even make them feel as though their Latino heritage is not as valued because of the importance most teachers place on learning English and using that as their primary form of communication.
Ana mentioned the importance of trying to get our schools to obtain higher levels of attendance among its students. Some ways that we may be able to do this involve getting teachers out of this idea that language is the main problem among Latinos, this is not the problem. "This has historically been the way in which teachers distract themselves from other reasons to problems that are existing." We need to re-envision ELL programming, improve ELL programs in the core urban districts, and increase the number of teachers and administrators with backgrounds similar to Latino students. Central Falls high school has undergone major reconstruction, and projects like Exel expose being bilingual to others who are uninformed. "Together Rhode Island College and Central Falls can become a research-based ecosystem."

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