How low can you go? Arizona to retain “King of the Valley” status with new anti-Latino education law

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One of the biggest educational disasters is about to hit all of Arizona in the next school year, and little has been written about it.

While some fight to remain “King of the Hill,” Arizona is guaranteed to remains “King of the Valley” when it comes to being last in education.

So far we have heard about TUSD agreeing to spend millions of dollars for software, not human teachers, to teach kids English, and not much more.

The main problem, besides the anti-Latino legislation such as this that attacks Latino students on multiple fronts, is that the proven answer to teaching kids English is Bilingual Education, but that was banned by Arizona.

So now the students will be held back in the third-grade and punished, while at the same time the solution will be prohibited to them. The result? 10 and 11 year-old third graders… nothing like that junior-high puberty combined with a third-grade classroom to really bring progress to education, right?

No wonder Arizona is last in education.

The new requirement puts added pressure on teachers already faced with dwindling resources and larger class sizes.

However, research shows that third-graders’ ability to read is a clear link to future academic and career success. Third-graders who can read at grade level are more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college.

Those who can’t meet basic reading requirements tend not to catch up.

“Third grade is really important because it’s when students switch over from learning to read to reading to learn,” said Emily Workman, associate policy analyst at Education Commission of the States, a Colorado-based non-profit. “If they’re not able to make that transition when they go into fourth (grade), they begin to struggle and generally struggle throughout their entire educational career.”

These findings have led 32 states, including Arizona, and Washington, D.C., to pass laws that identify and retain students if they are unable to read by third grade, according to the Education Commission of States.

But holding students back offers its own negative consequences. Some research indicates that retaining students may not improve a student’s reading ability, can create social stigmas and lead students to drop out of high school anyway.

Retention also tends to target disadvantaged students. In 2007, about four times as many students from poor families were retained than their more affluent peers, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

via Arizona Republic.

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