Should non English-Speaking Students be Segregated?

The New York Times has an interesting article
about Hylton High School in Virginia. At Hylton, immigrants who do not speak English are segregated from the general student population. Over the last few years’ the immigrant students have begun doing at least as well as the native English-speaking population at the school on state and federal exams. But educators involved with the program admit that do to the requirements of the “No Child Left Behind” law they find themselves only teaching the immigrant students material that is likely to be on the test. The teachers say that they simply do not have enough time to teach the students English, prepare them for exams (especially when the exams assume cultural and historical knowledge that recent immigrants do not have), and provide the students a diverse educational experience.

Many of the segregated students are not happy with how they are being treated. They claim that their forced segregation has made assimilating an impossibility. In fact, the school even arranges separate field trips for them.

This seems to be a clear example of schools valuing test scores more than the over all educational experience. But this school is, at least, managing to educate most of its immigrant students.

It is sad that schools feel the need to choose between educating their immigrant students and allowing them to participate fully in school activities. As of this writing, though, I can’t think of another alternative. Can you?

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3 Responses to “Should non English-Speaking Students be Segregated?”

  1. NG Lynd Says:

    This is terrible, I am totally opposed to it.

    I have never heard of any of the ancestors being segregated from other students. I do not know how it worked, though. I am sitting here thinking about how our family had some german-speaking people not too far back, my grandmother could clearly remember them speaking german. How did they go to school?

    NCLB was a dud if this is what was going on. The kids have to be put together, but they cannot just be forced on each other, either. It seems that school would be the one place where people–kids–of different cultures and backgrounds could actually intermingle in a way that helped bring about acceptance. After all, they’re kids. Now adults? Put them together and there will be problems over territory if there is job scarcity, especially if one group thinks the other group is in illegally. In my opinion, it is a process. The best way to ultimately bring acceptance and inclusion is for people to grow up together, and have them used to each other since childhood. Granted it is still rocky, look at desgregation.

    This is not an easy one, is it?

  2. Jonathan Simeone Says:

    NG, this really is a difficult issue. As a matter of principle I am totally opposed to segregation. But I’m not sure how we can educate all of these kids who speak so many different languages without diminishing the educational experience for all students. But there must be a better way; maybe, schools could offer magnate schools for immigrants where they could be included in regular classes for a portion of each day. So far, that’s all I have. Do you have any ideas?

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