“For those who do, neuroscience says bilingualism provides benefits both in the classroom and throughout life … What that means is those who are bilingual are apt to be better at problem solving, multi-tasking, and focusing and filtering relevant information.” CT Mirror reporter Jacqueline Rabe Thomas digs deep into the struggling world of English learners in Connecticut, kicking off her story with the challenges facing a Bridgeport mother and her children.
When it came time for Aracelis Hidalgo to enroll her two sons in school, it became clear that her local public school in Bridgeport would not be embracing Spanish–the only language she and her children understood.
Instead, her sons were put into English-only classes and given some extra tutoring. School announcements were sent home in English, and no translators were available to help her communicate with teachers.
“It shouldn’t be this way,” Hidalgo said through a translator. Her Spanish-speaking daughter, who will start school in the fall, sat on her lap. “I wish the schools would have both languages.”
The family’s experience is common. English-only classes with added supports is the primary approach in Connecticut public schools to helping students learn English–and it is producing dismal outcomes.
In Bridgeport, only 47 percent of the English learners receiving language supports showed any overall progress on English proficiency tests during the 2013-14 school year, the last year for which the state tracked data. In Hartford, which enrolls more English learners than any other Connecticut district, 46 percent showed any progress.
Full story here.