State secretary of education supports two-way language immersion schools
By Hao Lu
Matthew Malone, Mass. secretary of education, hosted an ethnic media roundtable on August 29, discussing with reporters from diverse communities on education issues and opportunities.
Malone explained strategic goals of the Executive Office of Education, which was established in 2008 and is responsible for achieving Gov. Deval Patrick’s vision for public education in Massachusetts.
“Our first goal is to accelerate innovation throughout our public education system,” Malone said. “We will spend time to create new models to engage young people to look at how we deal with second language learners and get them ready and prepared for college and work.”
The EOE team also looks forward to creating direct pathways for students to college and careers, and to closing achievement gaps, specifically reading proficiency.
Malone said that by enhancing the early education standards, increasing kindergarten readiness, and building a birth through grade three assessment system, the office will accelerate reading proficiency for all students by the end of third grade.
In terms of better education for second language students, Malone said he is a big fan of two-way immersion schools, and hope both schools and parents would like to put multilanguage as an option.
“It is not only a solution to engage second language learners to learn English, but also a great model for English speakers to learn a second language,” he said. “Kids can graduate from high school, being able to speak English, Spanish and Chinese.”
Malone said Mayor Thomas Menino and the school committee are working on issues that Chinatown currently have with physical space for new schools.
“There are not enough schools in downtown, so we are trying to create more seats. Everyone is guaranteed a free public education,” he said.
When talking about parent-school communication, Malone approved of using translation services, sending parents translated materials and making videos in different languages to get second-language parents involved.
“To parents coming from another country and speak another language, sometimes schools don’t make them feel welcomed,” he said. “We want to make sure people in different communities know that we represent them too, and want them to feel welcomed, valued, loved, cared for and expected.”
Issues such as scholarship resources, school bullying and literature were also brought up at the meeting.
This post is also available in: Chinese