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?