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

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
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
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Spotlight Spotlight on Critical Race Theory
In this Spotlight, learn what critical race theory is, what it isn't, and how it's a practice, not a curriculum.
Illustrations.
Mary Hassdyk for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Opinion I Am an Indian American Man. I Had Anti-Racist Work to Do
When adults reflect on who they are and where they come from, their awareness leads to better learning outcomes for their students.
Anil Hurkadli
5 min read
Abstract drawing of the profile of a head, clouds of thoughts and radiance from the eyes.
Elena Medvedeva/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Equity & Diversity American Indian Mascots Will Soon Be Banned in Colorado Public Schools
Colorado would become the fifth state to get rid of derogatory mascots.
Saja Hindi, The Denver Post
2 min read
Students walk into Loveland High School, past a sign at the entrance bearing the image of the school mascot, a Native American, in Loveland, Colo. on Sept. 11, 2014.
Students walk into Loveland High School, past a sign at the entrance bearing the image of the school mascot, a Native American, in Loveland, Colo.
Brennan Linsley/AP
Equity & Diversity Could School Resegregation Drive White Students to Become Democrats as Adults?
A researcher tracked the political affiliation of adults who graduated from high schools where court-ordered desegregation was lifted.
6 min read
Image of diverse hands in a team huddle.
melitas/iStock/Getty