Is It Better/Worse for ELLs for Chicago’s Consent Decree to End?

By Mary Ann Zehr — January 28, 2009 1 min read

A federal court is holding hearings to decide if the desegregation order for Chicago Public Schools should come to an end. A reporter from Medill Reports Chicago has been attending the hearings and reported on them in “Schools’ Efforts for Bilingual Students Questioned.” Chicago Public Radio reporters have also been blogging about this.

One of the groups, according to Chicago Public Radio, that is pushing hardest for the federal court’s consent decree to stay in place is the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. MALDEF lawyer Ricardo Meza contends that programs for ELLs still have a lot of problems:

We still have children that are taught on auditorium stages. We still have children taught in the hallways. We have children who don’t have any reading material in the Spanish language. We have children taught by teachers who are not certified in bilingual education.... If the bilingual program has been so dismal while under the watchful eye of a federal judge, what will happen when we don’t have it?

But Efrain Gonzalez, who runs bilingual programs for Kelly High School, in Chicago, disagrees. Chicago Public Radio reports:

Gonzalez says he can’t wait for the consent decree to come to an end, so teachers can determine what’s right for kids, rather than lawyers. That’s an opinion echoed by [Chicago Public Schools'] top attorneys.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.