Equity & Diversity

Spanish-Speaking Oregon Students Get Helping Hand

By Mary C. Breaden — October 30, 2007 1 min read

The Oregon Department of Education is looking beyond its borders—well beyond—to encourage Spanish-speaking students to stay in high school.

Currently, 19 high schools in the state are taking part in the Oregon-Mexico Education Partnership, a program between the Mexican government and the state education department that provides students with free Spanish-language textbooks, CDs, DVDs, and an online site, covering mathematics, science, and other subjects needed to earn a diploma.

The partnership, referred to as Plaza Comunitaria, or Community Plaza, by the Oregon education department, was launched in the state in 2004, said Patrick Burk, the chief policy officer for the state superintendent’s office.

While Hispanics make up about 15 percent of the more than 560,000 students enrolled in Oregon’s public schools and are among the 55,000 students enrolled in English-as-a-second-language classes, only about 2 percent of teachers are Spanish-speaking. That imbalance can produce “a tendency for students to slip behind,” Mr. Burk said.

Mexico began making material from its national curriculum available with the signing of an agreement with the United States in 1990, and 37 other states currently offer programs similar to Oregon’s.

Oregon’s initiative is administered by the state education department, the Mexican consulate in Portland, and the Salem, Ore.-based Willamette Education Service District.

Mr. Burk said students using the Mexican curriculum “have to show that the use of the Mexican material … achieves the same standard [as that of their peers].”

Joy Peyton, a language expert and a vice president at the Washington-based Center for Applied Linguistics, believes the program provides a valuable way for the students to continue learning in Spanish, even as they become fluent in English.

“In an ideal world, we would see what value there is in these students’ being proficient and academically excellent in two languages. Ultimately, we would be participating in … a bilingual society,” said Ms. Peyton.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Oregon. See data on Oregon’s public school system.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the October 31, 2007 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Building Leadership Excellence Through Instructional Coaching
Join this webinar for a discussion on instructional coaching and ways you can link your implement or build on your program.
Content provided by Whetstone Education/SchoolMint
Teaching Webinar Tips for Better Hybrid Learning: Ask the Experts What Works
Register and ask your questions about hybrid learning to our expert panel.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
Family Engagement for Student Success With Dr. Karen Mapp
Register for this free webinar to learn how to empower and engage families for student success featuring Karen L. Mapp.
Content provided by Panorama Education & PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Hiring Bilingual and Special Education Teachers NOW!
Newark, New Jersey
Newark Public Schools
DevOps Engineer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
User Experience Analyst
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Senior Business Analyst - 12 Month Contract
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Opinion The Scary Truth About Student Radicalization: It Can Happen Here
How do children grow into hate-filled adults? Researcher Amra Sabic-El-Rayess, a Bosnian genocide survivor, explains.
Amra Sabic-El-Rayess
5 min read
A Hooded teenager standing in a misty forest filled with spiderwebs
YorVen/E+/Getty<br/>
Equity & Diversity Why Are Black Teachers Being Vaccinated at Lower Rates Than Their White Peers?
The discrepancies are about more than vaccine hesitancy, says one union leader.
6 min read
A nurse prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine in London.
A nurse prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine. Teachers of color in the U.S. are being vaccinated at lower rates that their peers.
Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP-File
Equity & Diversity Opinion Which of My Students Were Freezing in the Storm?
As power outages gripped the state, a Texas teacher reflected on the stark opportunity gaps some students face year-round.
Holly Chapman
3 min read
Eithan Colindres wears a winter coat inside on Feb. 15, 2021 after the apartment his family lives in lost power following an overnight snowfall in Houston. With the snow and ice clearing in Texas after the electricity was cut to millions as temperatures plunged as people struggled to stay warm in their unheated homes.
Record-breaking cold and ice brought Texas electricity grids to the breaking point. Many families, including this one in Houston, struggled to stay warm in their unheated homes.
Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP
Equity & Diversity Opinion Don't Teach Black History Without Joy
The Black experience is not one-dimensional. Why do we teach it that way?
Jania Hoover
4 min read
Joyful figures raise their hands and sparkle inside the profile of a smiling woman
Edson Ikê for Education Week