Posts Tagged ‘Asian-American’

So Now What?…o_0”

February 17, 2009

My days of preschool and kindergarten were but blurs of chunky peanut butter, banana sandwiches and glorious mounds of cherry-colored playdo. Those were the good days…Now let’s fast-forward two-three grades later and instead of rampaging through the long corridors toward the kickball fields for recess, I stayed behind with smelly ol’ Mrs. Schumann for speech classes every Wednesday morning. Apparently at the time, I had difficulty enunciating my r’s from my l’s. -_-”

True…those Wednesday, ten-thirty mornings did pale dismally in comparison to your usual second-grade dodge-ball tournaments and dizzying tire swings. Mrs. Schumann never stopped smelling like musty cats and I never failed to woefully hang my head as I walked past the shiny monkey bars. But hey, those speech classes worked didn’t they?

Unfortunately, not everyone can reap the wondrous resources provided by their local, active elementary PTAs. Smelly cats or not, unlike some urban epicenters that can afford to provide various supplemental programs such as ESL speech classes for their diverse student demographics, many cities fail to meet such standards. In that many Asian American students who identify themselves as English Learning Learners (ELLs) are not adequately provided with sufficient resources and tools to succeed, and instead are often left behind unnoticed, due to their low-profile visibility underneath the veneer of high performance.

Surprisingly, considering that Vietnamese is the second most common native language of ELLs in California, and yet a ratio of 1 bilingual teacher for every 662 Vietnamese speaking students, only provides a short glimpse of the insufficient allocation of resources available for the Asian-American community.

It is public civil issues such as these that AALDEF: Asian-American Legal Defense and Education Fund organization strives to confront. Originally established as a non-governmental organization, which promotes Asian-American civil rights through the forum of legal services, AALDEF touches base on various topics such as civil participation in voting rights, employment/economic representation, affirmative action, and human trafficking. However, by not receiving any government sourced funds, the organization, itself, is managed through a seventeen person staff, nine of whom are lawyers, as well as the manpower of over 300 volunteers. Now with the support of Yale AASA, our purpose is to not only become a supporting affiliate student group, but also an active advocating body shedding light upon case studies such as those mentioned above.

In regards to the previously mentioned case, the education issue was actually raised in one of the organization’s featured press releases, “Left in the Margins: Asian-American Students & the No Child Left Behind Act”. According to Margaret Fung, the executive director of AALDEF, “Since the No Child Left Behind law was enacted, we have not seen significant improvements in the quality of public education. Instead, Asian Americans-especially immigrant, poor and non-English speaking students—have been left behind to fend for themselves in securing basic educational services.”

AALDEF proceeded to provide an extensive report delineating various reforms that could be addressed in response, including the proposal of funneling of more direct funds toward the hiring of ESL specialists in traditionally underrepresented areas.

Do any of y’all have direct experiences with these issues or provide any insight in light of such problems within your high school experiences? As a blog contributer and supporter of AALDEF I can only do so much as to provide exposure upon this organization and the cases it takes up. How do you feel AALDEF-AASA could actively approach these issues?

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