Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Long Island school districts with rising numbers of immigrant students - many from poverty-stricken Central American countries - need more resources to help them learn English and flexibility in meeting graduation requirements, panelists at a Roosevelt symposium said Monday.
Administrators at the forum, which drew dozens of district residents and educators from school systems in Nassau and Suffolk counties, questioned the effectiveness of a "one-size-fits-all" educational approach, because the newcomers require extra help to catch up academically and overcome emotional trauma from perilous journeys to the United States' border with Mexico.
"We must develop as a state a policy framework that supports a comprehensive system of flexible learning pathways," Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa said in the keynote speech, saying she favors the use of "individual learning plans" that adapt benchmarks for different students.
Teachers and parents also said more outreach is needed to relatives and sponsors of the children, who have come to the United States since 2012 as part of a migration wave of unaccompanied minors, largely from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Many who were resettled with relatives or sponsors on the Island are in their late teens and don't speak English when they enroll, but are expected to rise to the standards of native speakers to graduate.