BRISTOL, R.I. — A letter written by the executive director of the Latino Policy Institute and signed by a dozen education leaders says Rhode Island is failing its Latino students and urges the state education commissioner to make additional investments in English language learners.
The letter, which was sent to Commissioner Ken Wagner Monday morning, says that Rhode Island’s English language learners rank among the lowest in the United States for their performance on a nationally recognized test, the National Assessment for Education Progress.
A recent report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found there is a crisis for Latinos in Rhode Island, according to Gabriela Domenzain, executive director of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University.
“The Latino Policy Institute is all too familiar with the gaps that exist in educational opportunities for Latinos having done research in this area,” Domenzain wrote. “We have all worked to bridge many of the gaps that exist for our students regarding emergent bilingual learning needs. It is time to make a large and ongoing investment in these programs sufficient to meet the need.”
The letter, signed by the superintendents of Providence, Central Falls, Newport, Cranston and Pawtucket, calls on state leaders to consider including funding to support English language learners in the school funding formula. The $2.5 million that Gov. Gina Raimondo has earmarked for the past two years “is not sufficient to meet the needs for these important programs…,” the letter says.
The school leaders urge the state to add $5 million to the funding for English language learners this year; the governor’s budget calls for $2.5 million.
The letter also calls on the Department of Education to allow visiting teachers from Spain and other countries to teach here through a State Department visa. Such agreements already exist in Maine and Massachusetts.
It also calls for the creation of a chief level position for language learning within the state Department of Education.
Other signatories include the Economic Progress Institute, Rhode Island Kids Count, the Rhode Island Center for Justice, the Multistate Association for Bilingual Education and Ready to Learn Providence.
Published at Mon, 21 May 2018 15:12:43 +0000