Translating for family members is often considered a burden on bilingual children that can distract them from schoolwork, says Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, now an education professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. But her study of nearly 300 bilingual students in Chicago found just the opposite was true.
The tuition based program runs daily from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. and boasts such extras as classroom computers, field trips, fine arts projects and, in some schools, the well-regarded Suzuki-Orff music program. Classrooms are limited to 20 students and each is staffed by a certified teacher, a trained teacher’s aide and a parent tutor.
Nationally, jobs requiring an associate’s degree are expected to grow by 32 percent, the fastest rate of growth at any educational level. All but two of the 50 highest-paying occupations require a four-year college degree—only air traffic controllers and nuclear power reactor operators can get entry level jobs with less education.
For Latifah Pierce, a senior at Prosser High School, a metalworking course in machine shop is opening the door to an array of career options. The program offers Pierce an opportunity to earn one of seven certification credentials created by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills. Prosser launched its technical certification program two years ago, and it is gaining the attention of employers.
Last year, the School Board shut three schools with low test scores but years later, many of those same schools are still on probation or were among those closed last year by CEO Arne Duncan for low performance, observes Dave Peterson, who recently retired from the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. “I don’t see removal as the answer. It’s a simplistic response to a complicated problem.”
At the KIPP Foundation’s office in San Francisco, Feinberg, 34, says his shabby dress conveys a message to the new graduates: “You’re not done yet.”
And, in truth, they’re not. This group of 11 former teachers who have finished a yearlong program at the Haas Business School at the University of California-Berkeley will spend the next three months shadowing leaders at existing KIPP schools.
Samella would advise the mayor to ensure that classes have the materials and facilities they need. Both students were enrolled in what theoretically should be some of the least boring programs in the system, yet they both ended up twiddling their thumbs. If the school system can’t make its career education classes interesting, there’s scant hope for the rest of its programs.
A student achievement report found that seniors who were highly involved in Umoja-related activities were more likely to enroll in a four-year college than those with lower participation levels. “This is extraordinary for an inner-city, low-income, minority high school,” according to the 2002 report by G. Alfred Hess of the Center for Urban School Policy at Northwestern University. The authors credited Umoja for contributing to the college enrollment gains.
Last year, student participation dropped by 1,200 to 1,836 students from the previous year because of funding problems. CPS planned to use federal funds appropriated under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational-Technical Education Act to pay for students’ college tuition. But the Illinois State Board of Education, the fiscal agent for the Perkins funds, ruled that out, saying the money is meant to help students succeed in high school.
Under ProTech, employers in four industries make multi-year commitments to selected students at five of the city’s 23 high schools. In the fall of their junior year, students do job shadowing in various departments. About half the students return in the spring for part-time jobs, which convert to full-time jobs during the summer. Employment continues through senior year and often beyond.
KIPP opened a school in the Oakland Unified School District in the summer of 2002. Since then, the school has survived a districtwide deficit of $100 million, nearly a quarter of the overall $450 million operating budget; a state takeover of the district; principal and teacher turnover; a facility relocation; and a name change.