Posts About K-3

The Executive Director of Chicago Foundation for Education (CFE), Amy Sheren, recently invited the Latino Policy Forum to join her in a visit to a sixth-grade classroom at Kanoon Elementary in Little Village.  The teacher, Mr. Greg Fairbank, had received a CFE grant to enhance literacy through a peer-to-peer book club targeting English Language Learners (ELLs) not reading at grade level.  I jumped at the chance to see how the education policy the Latino Policy Forum helps shape plays out in local classrooms—especially an ELL classroom, given that ELLs now represent nine percent of students in Illinois schools.  While the percentage may appear small, it has grown by nearly 25 percent since 2004 and does not account for the many students... Continue Reading

Posted In: K-3

Illinois is ahead of the curve in promoting educational reforms and supports that value early childhood education.  Relatively nascent advocacy efforts endorse a more expansive continuum approach, especially birth-to-age 8 (or third grade), to ensure that early education benefits are thoughtfully and purposefully carried over into the early grades.  Vital to such discussions are the ways in which such continuum reform efforts could benefit the state’s rapidly growing diverse language learner population.

What is perhaps most striking to me is that if children begin the transition to English before they are well-grounded in their native tongue—generally achieved around the third grade benchmark—it can actually limit their English language development.  English-only approaches (or transitions into English instruction before students have a... Continue Reading

Posted In: Education, K-3
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