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DEC 1 notes - Wednesday December 1 Anthropology and...

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Wednesday December 1  Anthropology and Education  Anthropologists can inform public and lawmakers of cultural /  social / gender issues that affect the success of education.  Classrooms, homes, neighborhoods, and communities are foci.  Observation, interviews, and ethnographies are used.  Findings affect policy, funding, social, and economic success of  future generations.  How do education policies and institutions enable or obstruct  young, immigrant, English-language learners?  Foci: immigration, English-language learners (ELLs), federal  policy (No Child Left Behidn; NCLB).  ELLS are one of the fastest growing populations in American  schools; predicted to make up 30% of U.S. student population in  2015.  NCLB policies are aimed to close the gap in achievement between  white and minority students and hold schools accountable for  student performance.
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 NCLB, while good-intentioned, actually creates greater inequity  through focus on high-stakes exit exams, which have high failure  rates among ELLS.  High-stakes tests are more likely required for graduation in  states with the highest immigration rates and population growth  (South and Southwest regions, cities with high minority  percentages).  Research indicates 5-7 years of education are necessary to train  ELLs for effective performance on standardized tests.   Most states require ELLs to pass standardized tests in two years;  in California and Arizona, in one year.   High-stakes testing is linked with increased dropout rates.   In New York City, after one year of new requirements (2001),  50.4% of all ELLs dropped out of school. Other ELLs counseled to  withdraw and enter GED programs.   In 2000-2001, NYC public schools discharged 55,000 students.  Some schools discharged more students than they graduated.  Measurements of success are different among school systems;  some schools can be deemed “highly performing” even if half of  their minority freshmen never graduate. 
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