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On El Dia De Los Ninos, a Status Report on Latinos in U.S. Schools


The National Council of La Raza marks El Dia De Los Ninos, adapted from a Mexican "children's day," today by releasing a statistical brief with data showing that Latinos aren't being served well by U.S. schools, "Missing Out: Latino Students in America's Schools."

The National Latino Children's Institute in San Antonio, Texas, is celebrating with a public forum on health and education here in the nation's capital that includes information on how organizations can apply for federal stimulus funds.

The American Library Association also celebrates El Dia De Los Ninos each year with a promotion for library services to Latino families.

The NCLR brief has a section about ELLs. Some of the statistics you're likely familiar with, such as that 39 percent of Latino children are ELLs and that 80 percent of ELLs are native speakers of Spanish.

But the section on ELLs has a few statistics that I haven't seen before or haven't gotten a lot of attention. One of them is that a huge disparity exists between the graduation rates for Latinos who are fluent in English and those who are ELLs. The brief says that, according to U.S. Census data from 2000, 15 percent of Latinos who were fluent in English didn't graduate from high school while 60 percent of Latinos who were ELLs didn't graduate. That's a pretty big deal, it seems to me, that 60 percent of Latinos who are ELLs aren't graduating from high school.


extremely alarming information about English language Learners. They are not being reached and a lot of this has to do with not having enough reasearch on specific teaching strategies that will work for them. The language barrier must also play a big role, especially with the ELL students who are new arrivals to the country. Not being able to communicate and learn in Engish can be extremely frustrating for them and this many times leads to an early exit from high school.

This is really just a general response to the post, and mainly a request for help. I am a librarian in a prek-6 school in central Texas with a large ELL population. Developing a collection of Spanish and bilingual books is getting a little easier because there are more books available, but I would love to know of blogs and websites where I can read reviews, see the covers of the books. (I cannot talk students into a book that does not look interesting, no matter the quality). I subscribe to a few blogs on children's literature in Spanish-the one's I've found are mainly for very young children- and spend time at Isabel Schon's International San Diego Public Library site, but I need more. The magazine Críticas filled a much need void, but now publication has been suspended.
Ann Harris, librarian

Can you steer us toward info on grad rates for other ELLs, such as Hmong students and/or Chinese students?

Your students may be interested in the bilingual Spanish/English grammar and mystery adventure with audio CD called "Las puertas retorcidas: The Scariest Way in the World to Learn Spanish!" The book targets 5th or 6th grade students and up. Many reviews are at http://www.thetwisteddoors.com/reviews.htm and especially at

Dr. Kathie Dior

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