[lg policy] Report: Rhode Island Latino achievement gaps among worst

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 27 14:56:38 UTC 2013

Report: RI Latino achievement gaps among worst By ERIKA NIEDOWSKI,
Associated Press Updated 2:59 am, Tuesday, August 27, 2013

   PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island has some of the worst achievement
gaps between Latino and white students in the country and the state's
English language learning program is in crisis, a report released
Tuesday said.

The report by the Latino Policy
Williams University<http://www.sfgate.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=news%2Feducation&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=%22Roger+Williams+University%22>found
that Latino students scored two to three levels behind their white
peers on National Assessment of Educational Progress math tests. They
scored one to two levels behind in reading.

Rhode Island's Latinos are half a grade to a full grade behind their Latino
peers nationally in math and reading, according to the report.

The report also cited what it called a crisis in the English Language
Learner program. Twenty percent of Latino students in Rhode Island are in
the program. They ranked last among English language learners in
eight-grade math and in the bottom 10 states in other measures. In
Providence, Central Falls and Pawtucket, where the vast majority of Latinos
live, only three of 18 annual proficiency targets were met last year, the
report said.

Anna Cano Morales<http://www.sfgate.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=news%2Feducation&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=%22Anna+Cano+Morales%22>,
director of the Latino Policy Institute, called the report's findings
daunting. She said educators have known for years that Latino students lag
behind their white peers, but noted the finding bears new significance
because Latinos are the state's fastest-growing population and make up a
sizable portion of students in several districts.

Sixty-three percent of students in Providence and 72 percent in Central
Falls are Latino, according to the report. One-third of Pawtucket students
are Latino.

"We're not a subgroup anymore," said Cano Morales, who is Central Falls
school board<http://www.sfgate.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=news%2Feducation&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=%22Central+Falls+school+board%22>chairwoman.
"Our current systems do not have the capacity to do what it
takes to be successful with our students today. Our urban systems need to
redesign public education."

Cano Morales said addressing Latino achievement is critical for the state's
future workforce and economy. She said there are examples of successes that
need to be replicated on a larger scale.

Latinos make up about 13 percent of the state's population of just over
1 million.

Elementary and Secondary
the state has made progress closing the achievement gap — part of the
department's strategic plan — but that more needs to be done.

"There is still a crisis that has to be addressed," she said.

She said she is grateful for the report and the attention it will bring
the issue.

The report said economic disparities likely contribute to academic
disparities between Latino and white students in Rhode Island as well
between Latino students in the state and their national peers. The median
annual income of Latino families in Rhode Island is just under $29,000,
compared with about $60,000 for white families, the report said.

Providence Mayor Angel
the report an important reminder of the urgency the district faces
in improving achievement for all students.

Central Falls Superintendent Frances
the district is working to address challenges related to Latino
achievement. She said all new hires must be versed in teaching strategies
for English language learners and that the district aims to have veteran
teachers fully certified in second language learner instruction within
five years.

The report also found that Rhode Island Latinos are about twice as likely
as whites to drop out of school. The Latino rate was nearly 20 percent,
compared with 9.5 percent for whites.

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