Challenges Faced by Hispanic Students in American Schools and How Schools Can Address Identified Needs
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The United States Hispanic population continues to increase each year. In turn, school populations of Hispanics increase as well. Hispanics, although improving academically, continue to have high school dropout rates, higher than other racial and ethnic groups and continue to lag behind school peers. The discrepancy between Hispanic students and other students’ achievement is the result of many factors, including acculturalization, language acquisition, poverty, and school factors. Schools must understand the challenges of Hispanics and address the Hispanic students’ population through thoughtful interventions. The Bilingual Education Act (1968) set guidelines for state and local government to follow to ensure that English Language Learners (ELLs) do not continue to be left behind academically, linguistically, or socially. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 also holds schools accountable for ensuring that all students achieve mastery in reading and math. It is imperative that schools understand the challenges Hispanics face in order to meet their needs. Keywords: dual language learners, English language learners, limited-English proficient students Challenges Faced by Hispanic Youth in American Schools and Schools Responsibilities to Addressing Identified Needs The Hispanic population continues to grow and exceed other races and nationalities of people in the United States. Public schools receive the influx of Latinos, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Mexicans. These second language learners join the school system, but they are accompanied by struggles and challenges beyond the monolingual students. Research shows that second language learners are academically behind their counterparts in the areas of reading and math (Frye, 2003; Aud, Fox, & KewalRemani, 2010). These deficiencies may exist due to acculturalization, poverty, language acquisition, and school factors. Second language learners, also identified as dual language learners (DLL) are met with challenges beyond literacy. All students are faced with learning new content but DLL students have compounded challenges beyond the regular student. The discrepancy between Hispanic student achievement and the majority of the population is often a result of the challenges many native English speakers do not face. In this paper, I will discuss identified salient challenges associated with Hispanic students’ schooling and briefly address how schools can more effectively serve Hispanic students. Discussion
According to Wikipedia, a term accredited to J. W. Powell, acculturalization “explains the process of cultural and psychological change that results following meeting between cultures. The effects of acculturation can be seen at multiple levels in both interacting cultures. At the group level, acculturation often results in changes to culture, customs, and social institutions. Noticeable group level effects of acculturation often include changes in food, clothing, and language. At the individual level, differences in the way individuals acculturate have been shown to be associated not just with changes in daily behavior, but with numerous measures of psychological and physical well-being.” Acculturalization is a mode of learning and integrating new information. The process involves the preservation of ones culture and the acceptance of certain aspects of another. The adaption process is less necessitated for native born Hispanics than immigrants. It is impossible to willfully unlearn one's self and even if it were possible, it would not help in the newcomer's adjustment process for the newcomer needs to integrate new information, making sense of new experiences in accord...
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