108. Does the law specify that the school must have available an instructor who speaks the students' primary language?
The school must provide whatever is needed to insure equal educational opportunity and equal access to the curriculum to ALL students. In some cases an instructor may be needed, especially if LARGE numbers of non-English speaking students arrive at or are already attending a school. In other cases, usually in schools with small, very small numbers or non-English speaking students, the school must provide primary language support to insure equal educational opportunity and equal access to the curriculum.
Primary language support may be provided by a teacher, and instructional assistant, a community volunteer, or any other person designated to offer this support to non-English speaking students. In some cases, the parent of the child may be bilingual, and through this parent, the teacher can provide equal educational opportunity and equal access to the core curriculum on a daily basis.
For example, not long ago, while I was in Pueblo, Colorado, a number of Chinese
families moved into town. One young lady attending the high school was helped through her
father, who was English-Chinese bilingual. The teachers would speak to the parent on a
daily basis, informing him of the homework to be done and telling him about the lesson to
be mastered the next day.
The parent, in turn, worked with the students helping her understand the homework and helping her understand the next day's lesson. There was extensive documentation of this process since the Pueblo School District #60 was out of legal compliance.
Thus, while the law does NOT directly say that a teacher or an instructor or instructional assistant may provide the needed services, the law is clear in its emphasis of EQUAL educational opportunity and equal access to the core curriculum by ALL students.
Now the district must act to insure that ALL students are learning and doing well in School.
FOLLOW-UP REPLY By Dr. Andre L. Guerrero
Thanks so much for addressing these questions; I think that some (or all?) of the recent questions sent you from Arkansas have resulted from your excellent idea of PREPARING THE UPCOMING MARCH 2 WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS for your presentation THROUGH THE "FLYER/HANDOUT" YOU SENT US AND WHICH WE DISTRIBUTED. Great idea!
PERHAPS WE SHOULD "BUILD IN" A SHORT 15-20 PRESENTATION ON TITLE VI/NATIONAL ORIGIN COMPLIANCE DURING THE MARCH 2 WORKSHOP, WHICH I COULD HANDLE, SHOULD YOU THINK IT HELPFUL AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT "INTERRUPT THE FLOW " OF YOUR PRESENTATION.
As far as the specific question concerning instructional services (by someone who can speak the LEP student's native language) is concerned, as you so well pointed out, an alternate program of instruction which is proven to be effective MUST be provided--whether through native or non-native speakers of the student's home language. Since the requirement is in the ACQUISITION OF ENGLISH and "PROGRESS IN THE ACQUISITION OF ACADEMIC SKILLS IN THE CORE CONTENT/SUBJECTS," the manner/methodology or approach that is used--ESL or bilingual, sheltered or otherwise--are ALL LEA decisions. BUT WHATEVER METHOD/APPROACH IS USED, THE INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM/INPUT HAS TO BE COMPREHENSIBLE TO THE STUDENT (THROUGH THE USE OF ESL IN OUR STATE), AND HAS TO BE SHOWN TO BE EFFECTIVE.
FOR SOME DISTRICTS, THE AVAILABILITY OF BILINGUAL TEACHING ASSISTANTS (AND THE RARE, BILINGUAL CERTIFIED TEACHER) MAY AFFORD THEM THE OPTION/RESOURCE TO PROVIDE NATIVE LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE. FOR MOST DISTRICTS SUCH PERSONNEL ARE NOT AVAILABLE--SO ESL TRAINED (MONOLINGUAL ENGLISH-SPEAKING) TEACHERS DO THE TEACHING.
THE LAW SPECIFIES THE REQUIREMENT OF AN ALTERNATE PROGRAM OF INSTRUCTION AND THE OUTCOME(THAT IS) PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE. LEAs pick it up from there and direct/manage their own instructional programs that will meet these requirements.
Hope all of this (somewhat) clarifies how the state sees this issue.
Dr.Andre L. Guerrero, Director
Programs for Language Minority Students
Arkansas Department of Education
4 State Capitol Mall Room 202-B
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Telephone: (501) 682-5014
Fax: (501) 682-5010
For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:
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5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
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8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
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Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
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