Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.
February 3, 2004
Rose, from Minneapolis 'Mn.
They share the same dreams and aspirations as we all do for our children's education. However, they do not always know how to navigate the public education system and may not be able to speak English.
Thus, they often lack the information they need help to guide their children through the education maze. However, thanks to the Title I (for low-income schools and school districts) and Title III (for English Language Learners) provisions of No Child Left Behind, these parents now have more options and opportunities to permit them to become strong advocates for their children's education.
Perhaps President George W. Bush put it best when he stated, "This nation of immigrants believes that all children, whatever their circumstances, deserve a chance to learn, and rise, and succeed. This principle has guided my education reforms as we work to raise the standards of public schools across America and bring hope to every classroom, for every child. I mean every child, not just a few, and not just those whose parents may speak English. We want educational excellence "para todos que viven en este pais."
WB, from Austin, TX
I believe parents, especially low-income parents, should be granted every opportunity and option to enroll their children in a school of their choice, particularly if their child is presently enrolled in a low-performing school.
A voucher program that provides parents this choice will not only help their children obtain a quality education, it also stands to improve public education overall.
Several studies suggest that this competition - the risk of losing students at low-performing schools to other schools - actually improves academic performance at the low-performing school.
So, the voucher program recently approved in Washington, DC is destined to succeed, as other vouchers programs have already demonstrated in other parts of the country.
Providing parents options and choices, a key pillar of the No Child Left Behind Act, is producing the positive results the President and Congress envisioned when it passed this educational reform in January of 2002.
I believe that Congress will continue to support and embrace the pillars of No Child Left Behind, particularly for the lasting implications it holds for finally ensuring that Hispanic children receive the quality education we wish for all American children.
paulo, from dc writes:
Sarah,, from North Surry High School, NC writes:
Let me begin by stating that under No Child Left Behind, states must develop English Language Proficiency Standards that are aligned to the Academic Content Standards.
Teachers will be teaching Academic language in any of the Language programs - not in what is often referred to as "playground English" or just social and communicative skills which is the instruction that has been offered in our classrooms for the past 30 years.
Currently, new assessments are being developed to measure the progress of acquisition of the English language. The assessment instruments will be piloted this spring. What I have just described is for language assessment.
As for Content Assessment, Title III under No Child Left Behind states, LEP students will be assessed for content (Reading and Math) on a valid and reliable instrument to extrapolate what a student knows. Students may be tested in native language (for content) for up to three years.
After three years in the system, students will be tested in English. The decision to NOT use native language testing for the first three years is a state choice. For the states that do not offer native language content assessment, they will test in English and may use "accommodations." The list of accommodations is available on the OELA website at the U.S. Department of Education or on OELA's Clearing House website www.ncela.gwu.edu.
The assessment instruments described above are two separate instruments and do not measure the same things. Therefore, a test administered in English is no longer a test of English. It will heavily depend on aligned instruction to the state's Content and English Language Proficiency Standards. I hope this helps answer your question.
Christian, from North Carolina
We anticipate that this increase in educational achievement will result in a dramatic increase of Hispanic youth that will be academically prepared to successfully undertake the rigors of a post secondary education.
As the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans noted in their final report to the President, From Risk to Opportunity: Fulfilling the Educational Needs of Hispanic Americans in the 21st Century, postsecondary institutions must build capacity in order to accommodate this burgeoning student body.
These institutions must assess their institutional capabilities and develop an integrated vision and action plan in order to be prepared to meet the needs of this growing and better prepared student population.
Many states that are non-traditionally high Hispanic population states are encountering questions that they have not, until recently, been prepared to answer, we encourage these states to look towards those programs and initiatives that have been successfully implemented in traditionally high Hispanic population states, and to evaluate how these solutions may be adapted to meet their needs.
Tom, from Greeley, CO writes:
With the administration's focus on evidence-based outcomes and educational accountability (i.e. NCLB).
What role does (if any) does bi-lingual education play in today's educational setting?
States have ensure that all ELL's learn English and "hit" the same academic achievement targets set for all students. How a state chooses to operationalize these two aspects of the law is up to each state.
That they do this for each student is what we in OELA (Office of English Acquisition) monitor and provide technical assistance. A state may choose to offer bilingual programs, dual language programs, two-way immersion programs or just an immersion program in English.
It is state choice. Regardless of program - it must be administered based on the most current scientific-based research and it must produce student outcome results for English language proficiency and academic content.
Jasmin, from Wilmington, N.C. writes:
The Department's student financial assistance program includes grants, work-study, and loans. Grants are financial aid you do not have to pay back.
Work-Study lets you work and earn money to help pay for school and loans are borrowed money that you must repay with interest. You can apply for Federal Student aid by completing and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The FAFSA is the application form for aid from the federal government. You can apply using the paper form which can be obtained by calling United States Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 433-3243 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST); or via the Internet by visiting http://www.ed.gov/studentaid/apply.html.
You can also request additional publications on student financial assistance such as the Student Guide and Funding your Education by calling the above mentioned phone number or you may also obtain them electronically at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/Students/student.html. You can visit http://www.ed.gov/studentaid for more information on federal funding opportunities.
Additionally, your state department of education may offer financial aid programs. You can learn about state programs and other programs by contacting your state department of education or the college you plan to attend. There are many private scholarship search services that provide lists of "sources" of financial assistance for which you may apply. The following sites may be helpful in your search for other forms of financial aid:
These sites and the organizations that sponsor them are independent of the United States Department of Education. The Department of Education does not endorse them, but I mention the sites for your convenience, so that you can decide if these, or other sites, have the information or ideas that will be useful to you.
Alex, from San Antonio
scott, from denver writes:
Andrew, from Washington, D.C.
In the same Executive Order, the President created our office. We work closely with the U.S. Department of Education Secretary Rod Paige and his staff to help implement the provisions of No Child Left Behind.
Joel, from Los Angeles
Public/private partnerships have proven to be productive vehicles through which a range of organizations can collaborate in pursuit of common objectives and shared visions.
Effective use of such partnerships can draw upon the strengths and experiences of a variety of organizations to create innovative approaches to addressing the educational needs of Hispanic American children, youth, parents, and adult learners by engaging the entire family in the learning process.
And, there are important roles for the federal government, corporate America, business, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders to play in this process.
Paty, from Deerfield, Kansas writes:
While the Hispanic high school dropout rate has remained alarmingly high for too long, it is necessary to more closely examine the data in order to create and implement strategies that will be effective.
Answers are needed for such questions as: How many of the students that are being counted as dropouts are native born and foreign born? Are persons being counted as dropouts when in fact they came to this country to work? What is the impact of native education systems on the educational attainment of Hispanics in the United States?
Key to lowering the dropout rate is academic preparation, raising expectations, quality instruction, and accountability - all elements of No Child Left Behind. To do any less would relegate Hispanic Americans to the what the President calls the "soft bigotry of low expectations".