Tag Archives: English language learners

Prince George’s NAACP leader says blacks ‘have not mastered the English language’.

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) – A local African-American leader speaking out against a proposal to build schools in Prince George’s County for students learning English is creating controversy.

She now feels safe living here in the U.S., in Prince George’s County, but for Edith Romero’s niece, it was a harrowing journey from her home in El Salvador seven months ago. She left everything behind to escape growing gang violence that threatened her family.

“They came to her house wanting to kill her mother, so her mother solicited a visa and, thank God, they gave one, but just to her,” Romero said. “They had to send her to live with me, because she was at risk over there.”

It hasn’t been easy—especially in school. But it is getting better, thanks to new schools created by Prince George’s County specifically for English language learners.

Critics tell “Hispanic AGENDA,” a joint production of ABC7’s sister station NewsChannel 8 and Telemundo, the resources spent by the county on the two new schools are diverting much-needed funding from other students in need.

Bob Ross heads the NAACP chapter in Prince George’s County. But in making his case to “Hispanic AGENDA,” his own comments about African-American students are causing some controversy as well, saying African-American students don’t know how to speak English properly.

Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2015/04/prince-george-s-naacp-leader-says-blacks-have-not-mastered-the-english-language–112905.html#ixzz3WJVS6s4X

A local African-American leader speaking out against a proposal to build schools in Prince George’s County for students learning English is creating controversy.
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Plan for English language learner schools causes conflict in Pr. George’s County

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A plan to open two new high school programs for immigrants and English-language learners in Prince George’s County has created a rift between members of the African American and Hispanic communities, with opponents of the proposal questioning the school district’s decision to use its limited resources to benefit one group of students over the other.

The county’s chapter of the NAACP has mounted strong opposition to schools chief Kevin M. Maxwell’s plan to open two schools next year for 800 English-language learners who are struggling academically.

The debate surrounding the new schools is new evidence of rising tensions between the Maryland county’s African Americans, who make up 65 percent of the Prince George’s population, and Hispanics, who make up almost 15 percent of the county’s population and 26 percent of the school population. The Hispanic population is the fastest-growing minority group in the county.

“This whole thing is designed to change the school system from what we know today,” said Bob Ross, president of the county’s NAACP chapter. “They are talking about the needs of the newcomers and putting them ahead of the needs of those who are already here.”

Del. Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s) said Ross’s words are “very dangerous” and are creating division at a time when African Americans and Hispanics need to work together.

 “Our issues are the same,” she said. “We are all people of color.”

The Prince George’s school system entered into an agreement with the International Network for Public Schools and CASA of Maryland earlier this year to open one school in the Langley Park area and another as a school-within-a-school program at Largo High School.

>>> Read more Washington Post

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Largo High top choice for English language learner school.

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A new school for English language learners will likely be placed within Largo High School, even though community members say it might heighten tension between students.

Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell said that although the location has not been finalized, Largo High is currently the top school under consideration for the site of one of two high schools being designed as an option for students whose native language isn’t English.

“Right now, it’s our first choice, and we’d like to find a way to make it work at Largo,” Maxwell said, citing the school’s proximity to public transit and Prince George’s Community College, as well as its current 62 percent enrollment.

Opponents to the school being located at Largo spoke out during the Nov. 13 school board meeting, which included a presentation on the new schools.

School board member Zabrina Epps (Dist. 1) said the schools should be a starting point for conversations around equity in the school system.

“How do you think the students at Largo will feel knowing and seeing their colleagues getting all of this, and they get nothing?” Epps said.

According to data provided by the school system, the vast majority of the system’s 19,240 ELL students are native Spanish speakers, 86.8 percent, followed by French speakers, 2.1 percent, and speakers of Tagalog, 0.6 percent, a language spoken in the Philippines.

Valerie White, Largo High PTSA president, said she would like to see Largo High’s current students receive the same amount of resources and support as students at the ELL school.

“We’re asking for our students to get the same quality education, and not be left behind,” White said.

Read more >>> Gazzette

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Largo HS parents: ‘The community wasn’t given a voice’

…Questions raised about school’s possible selection for English learners program.

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Prince George’s County school board chairman Segun Eubanks listens to parents and staff speak at Sasscer in the past photo. He has demonstrated poor leadership skills and cover ups involving union corruption facilitated by misconduct and mismanagement of public funds.  

Some Largo High School parents say they are disappointed they were not asked for their input before the school was considered as a site for a non-native English speakers program.

The CASA-Internationals Community High Schools program would offer a small school environment for English language learners, said Prince George’s County Public Schools’ spokesman Max Pugh.

Largo has been discussed as one of two sites for the program, but the site selection has not been finalized, Pugh said. The second site will be in Langley Park but a specific location has not been determined, Pugh said. Each school will start with 100 students during the 2015-2016 academic year and expand with a new class annually.

Valerie White, president of the Largo High School PTSA, said the PTSA is not completely opposed to the program, but members want the program to benefit all students, not just English language learners, by encouraging them to become bilingual.

“They said the school would be involved. They said the community would be involved. No one was at the table in the beginning,” White said.

The county school board needed to pass an emergency item to approve the memorandum of understanding with Casa of Maryland, which advocates for Latinos and immigrants in Maryland, and New York-based Internationals Network for Public Schools, a nonprofit that operates schools for international students and submitted the grant application for the program.

The measure was passed March 13 as an emergency item so the application could be submitted on time, Pugh said. The school system was awarded the $3 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation in July.

“The part I’m stuck on is the community wasn’t given a voice, and no one decided to ask Largo what they thought of it before they made the decision,” said parent Charmian Makell, 41, of District Heights. “I think someone should take this to task on why it was an emergency decision.”

Pugh said Largo is being considered because a section of the school large enough to house the program is currently being renovated. If Largo is chosen, White said the internationals high school may utilize 10 classrooms, which could expand class sizes from 38 to 45 students.

Some students questioned how the school would operate if it housed two different educational programs.

“I don’t think it will work,” said sophomore Tanijia Hardy-Leach, 15, of Clinton. “How would they do lunch if they were separate from us?”

Junior Keilo Savoy, 16, of Temple Hills said the school is too small to accommodate the program.

“If they follow through with this, it’s not going to last long,” Keilo said. “Ten classrooms for people who don’t know English, that’s too many.”

Parents and students felt that English language learners should study alongside native English speakers, rather than attend separate schools in the same building.

“I don’t think separating is the idea,” said Natalie Washington, 45, of Largo, who has a senior at the school. “If they’re going to be there, bring them all together. Don’t separate them because they are from another country or speak another language.”

Pugh said there is no deadline for the schools to be selected, but recruitment for prospective students will conclude in the spring. There will be a presentation on the internationals high schools program at the Nov. 13 school board meeting, Pugh said.

kpetersen@gazette.net

Correction: Prince George’s County Public Schools’ spokesman Max Pugh had initially incorrectly stated the internationals high schools program was for recently arrived immigrants. The program is open to English language learners.

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