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The Achievement Gap and Immigrant Students of Color

Much attention has been paid to the achievement gap which is defined as “the ability accurately to predict a student’s performance based purely on  his or her ethnicity,” and in particular on the color of his or her skin.

Recent immigrants from various African, Spanish-speaking, and Asian countries are included in that definition, but there is strong evidence that the barriers for those young people are far different from the barriers for young African Americans and other U. S.-born racial minorities. And treating them all as one group does a disservice to all of them.

The Minnesota Achievement Gap Committee forum on May 18th will feature six education professionals discussing English Language Learner (ELL) and English as a Second Language (ESL) education throughout Minnesota and in the Twin Cities specifically. The panelists will discuss:

  • How do you best address concerns among some immigrant families that their children in ESL/ELL classes are not academically challenged enough? 
  • How do you best address concerns that some ESL/ELL students are kept away from regular education classes for too long a period?
  • What is the pace of learning for ESL/ELL students? 
  • And an overview of EL services: what they are (including best pratcies), who receives them, and how they are implemented, measured, and monitored

Dr. Efe Agbamu, assistant superintendent, Office of Multilingual Learning, St. Paul Public Schools, will lead the discussion. The other panelists are:

  • Catherine Rich, Principal, Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Magnet
  • Eli Kramer, Executive Director, Hiawatha Academies 
  • Elia Dimayuga-Bruggeman, Deputy Education Officer, Minneapolis Public Schools 
  • Lucilla Davila, Associate Superintendent  of Magnet Schools, Minneapolis Public Schools 
  • Michael Bowlus, English Learner, Refugee Education and Federal Programs Specialist, Division of Student Support, State of Minnesota 

The Forum will be held Wednesday, May 18th, from noon to 1:30 pm at Mount Zion Templ in St. Paul.