EL Students Being Penalized

Discussion in 'General Education' started by YoungTeacherGuy, Jul 16, 2018.

  1. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jul 16, 2018

    Normally, I don’t care what the middle schools in my district do. Their school = their business.

    We’ve got five middle schools in my district. Just built a sixth. Most of the kiddos from my school feed into the new school. No biggie, right? Wrong!

    Every middle school site in my district operates on a 7 period day: ELA/SS “Core” (2 periods with the same homeroom teacher, Math, Science, PE, ELD or Study Skills (Study Skills is for English-Only students & ELs go to ELD), and an elective class (STEAM-related).

    The new school will have a 6 period day. ELs will have ELD while their peers have an elective class. Therefore, ELs get no elective class.

    Again, normally, I wouldn’t be concerned about any of this. However, I work at a school where the majority of my students are ELs and we are a feeder school for this new site. So my sweet kids are going to miss out on an elective class strictly due to their language acquisition status.

    Big sigh. I feel better getting this off my chest. Needed to vent.

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Jul 16, 2018

    It sounds as if they're trying to give the EL students some extra help. You have to do something with the non-EL students. What else would you suggest? I'm not sure there's a win-win here. No matter how you look at it, someone is going to feel they're missing out on something.
    I teach elementary and we rolled out a designated ELD block this last year. The problem was what to do with EO students and those who were redesignated. The solution provided was to put all of them together in an ELD group by grade level. The problem there is that students who are English only or redesignated are not necessarily at the same level of English proficiency, so it made it very challenging to try to teach that group. I'd think an elective would be a more productive solution.
    Also...it's middle school. Not every state/county has middle school. If kids go to a school that takes them up through eighth grade, they don't get electives until high school anyway. I see where you're coming from, but I don't think there will be any lasting damage.
     
  4. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    What I would suggest is that they could’ve followed the model that our other middle schools adopt where ELs still get an elective class (7 period day). See original post.
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jul 16, 2018

    That's unfortunate. I know our middle school does the same for sped students. They said after really considering it, it didn't make sense to continue protecting elective time because middle school students don't care that much about electives anyway. I'm not sure how true that is. I'm sure it is for some kids, but not for all.

    At my elementary I have really fought hard for my students to always get to attend specials (every once in awhile, it's brought up as an idea for them to miss less gen ed class time). Many of my kids do have talents in the arts or sports and specials in their only time to shine and actually feel good about themselves at school.

    I wonder if it would make a difference if a bunch of parents complain. IME, parents of ELs tend to not be the "call and complain" type, so probably not likely to happen unless it's strongly suggested to them.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Jul 16, 2018

    I think the ones it hurts most are the ones who are almost at the right level but still need a bit of a boost in their language skills (or in the case of special education their academic skills). Those who are really, really lagging actually need the dedicated time to help bring the skills up to a functioning level.

    Some electives are heavy in language and ELs might really struggle to have the class beneficial. However, there are those electives that are less language heavy.

    Now, you could say that in our MS students get ripped off too if they plan to go the college/honors track because they need at least 3 years of a language which means most times kids will take it in MS and take 4 years in order to take the AP test. Their desire to achieve high levels academically or get into colleges that are more selective cause them to lose fun electives which may be beneficial and helpful to make them more well rounded.

    Seems the middle of the road kids are the only ones who have the real benefit of electives in our district. They tend to have an elective heavy course load throughout HS.
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jul 16, 2018

    Last year, we had a teacher who tried to refuse to have a SpEd student mainstreamed to her for PE. Overall, our entire district is good about mainstreaming time (it's part of our culture to accept all students into our rooms), so it has never been an issue for me in my career (as a teacher, I always welcomed SpEd students into my class with open arms). The SpEd teacher (who is also the site union rep, thank goodness) talked to her about the LAW and lectured her about not being a team player. I sat there silently, but was saying, "Attagirl" in my head!

    Yes, you're right: EL parents are generally passive. I do know, however, that they respect me and I'm certain they'd say something if I encouraged them to. I just don't want to put myself in that situation because I'm an administrator.

    Thanks for understanding where I"m coming from!
     
  8. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Jul 17, 2018

    EL students are very at-risk for dropping out due to several factors: lagging behind academically and being unable to catch up is the biggest factor. If you were to study the drop-out rates of EL students in your district, you'd probably be staggered and want to support their learning even at the expense of specials.

    I get it, but our ELs and special ed students are pulled for services during core academic subjects and end up missing half of their ELA or math blocks because specials CAN'T be taken from them. It's a shame.
     
  9. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Wow, that's a shame. I wonder why they're not going with the same schedule. Seems like a good schedule for giving support while not losing regular class time.
     
  10. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jul 17, 2018

    I completely agree that the EL student students should not be excluded from electives. So often, the elective class is their time to shine, and it provides a much needed brain break from rigor of the academic curriculum. I cannot believe your disrict is okay with using language as the deciding factor between receiving electives or not. I’m willing to bet that decision would not fly if challenged by the right person.
     

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