Let’s figure out how many Bridgeport students who speak English as a second language are falling through the cracks.
There are about 25,000 students enrolled in Bridgeport schools. According to the State Department of Education, about 13 percent of those speak English as a second language.
That’s about 3,250 kids who don’t speak English at home.
Now, since only about 19 percent of Bridgeport’s 10th graders who speak English as a second language are performing at grade level in math, about 2,632 students would likely not be able to perform that calculation.
For the record, that’s also about 2,632 students who can’t read at grade level.
And about half of Bridgeport’s ELL students, about 1,625 kids, won’t graduate high school.
That’s not new — English language learners have been struggling, particularly in Bridgeport, for many years.
Now, fast forward to 2014. Along comes the proposal for the Great Oaks Charter School. It’s based on a model that has been consistently successful with exactly those students, the upper grade kids who don’t speak English at home.
The Great Oaks Charter School proposal has the support of community leaders, clergy and parents, and there is considerable demand. There are more than 1,000 names on Bridgeport waiting lists for schools like Great Oaks.
When the state Board of Education sits down to approve charter schools on April 2, let’s hope they see fit to give the nod to Great Oaks.
One kid falling through the cracks is too many, but 2,632 kids falling behind and 1,625 never graduating, merely because of the circumstances of their births, is unconscionable and unacceptable.
Great Oaks can help lower those numbers, so there should be no objections to it. Now that is simple math.
The existence of the Great Oaks Charter School means more kids reading at grade level and more kids graduating. Anybody opposing the Great Oaks Charter School should be ashamed of themselves.
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