In the first part of this series about the Spanish immersion education boom in West Michigan, we talk about how 6 of the 31 programs in the region are serving a small proportion of local Latino students who are English learners. In particular, we look at two public schools with dual language programs in Holland and Grand Rapids, where kids who fall into this category are able to access their legal right to an equal opportunity education via a model proven to improve their academic outcomes in English, all while helping them maintain their home language.
The second part looks at the other 25 programs in the area, wich are designed to help students who already speak English to acquire Spanish. In a region where the vast majority of Latino English learner students are being educated in monolingual settings where the chances of them achieving advanced levels of bilingualism and biliteracy are quite low, 4 out of 5 seats in Spanish immersion classrooms are reserved for a group of kids that are solidly on their way to the elite class, as it is.
The first episode of this series is in Spanish and the second one is in English. Both are complementary parts of one single story, not translations of the same content. Start here with part one, and click here to explore the data that I collected for this series.
Several months ago, I wrote about the linguistic phenomenon known as Kitchen Spanish. I wanted to dig a little deeper, so I pitched a segment to the podcast, Racist Sandwich, and they were up for it! My own podcast, Tertulia, is in Spanish, so this is my first reported audio story in (mostly) English. In the piece you’ll hear interviews with staff from restaurants here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, including Donkey Taquería and MeXo (which is slated to open on April 17, 2018).
Listen to the Racist Sandwich episode “Kitchen Spanish” here.
I’m pleased to announce that Tertulia is partnering with the Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival (GRLAFF), taking place April 6-8, 2018. Since 2010, the festival has been showing award-winning films from Latin American and Latino filmmakers at the Wealthy Theatre and enriching the experience for audiences by organizing Q&A sessions with visiting directors and panel discussions with local speakers. In 2018, for the first time the festival will present “GRLAFF for Kids,” a parallel event in the Wealthy Theatre’s micro-cinema featuring live puppet shows and a screening of an animated film from Uruguay. The entire festival, as usual, is free to the public and all the films will be presented with English subtitles. Interested? Find out more on the GRLAFF website!
I came to admire the work of Alianza Americas when they were the recipients of a grant from a foundation where I worked, and I have kept in touch with the organization ever since moving to the Midwest. Headquartered in Chicago, Alianza Americas is a network of immigrant organizations across the U.S. that operates with a transnational approach.
So, naturally I am very excited that their Midwest speaking tour will make a few stops in Michigan later this month. The featured speakers are two workers’ rights activists from Latin America: Rita Marcela Robles Benítez from Fray Matías Center in Chiapas, Mexico and María Luisa Regalada from the Honduran Women’s Collective in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
The “Good Jobs, Good Neighbors” tour includes two events in Grand Rapids on September 19 and 21, 2017, hosted by local partner organizations. The events are designed to encourage dialogue around questions such as:
What do we mean by good jobs?
What can we – workers, advocates, policy-makers, businesses, and other stakeholders – do to be better neighbors to each other as we share a common struggle?
How can we work together across borders to create opportunities for everyone?