Thursday, January 17, 2008

Take A Hike Mike

Unite With Mike The Education Mayor: Finding a High School for an Immigrant Child is Tougher than you Think, The maze of America by Jessica Siegel, from the Village Voice, an excerpt:
Ralph Antony Louissant just wanted a school to take him. Ralph Antony Louissant is a sweet-faced 16-year-old, tall with closely cropped hair. Quiet and polite, he greets a visitor to his aunt's apartment with a soft "bon soir." He arrived from Haiti in August to join his sister Carla, his aunt, and his cousins in Brooklyn. His family's attempts to get him registered in a New York City public high school started back then and culminated during two weeks in September, in an odyssey through five public high schools, trying to find one that would accept him. Such is the situation with many English-language learners (ELLs), advocates say, where more than half of New York City's new small schools—the centerpiece of Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's reorganization of the city's education system—have student bodies in which less than 5 percent are ELLs. And despite a number of rulings saying that each school must provide services for ELLs, Ralph Antony's experience shows that it's perhaps only through family persistence and the intervention of advocates that many immigrant students are getting the services to which they are entitled.

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