The Latino community is treated differently in public schools, and we would like to raise awareness about this issue. All Latino students are required to take the ESL placement test even though many do not need that extra help; however, Caucasian students are not required to take any test of this sort.
Latino children are not the only ones who need extra help in school. Many other children in schools struggle with the English language, but because their first language is English, it is assumed that they know the language better than the Latino students. All Latino students are required to take the ESL test, even if they do not necessarily need it.
"I feel like the school system thinks I'm stupid. My family taught me English when I was three, but the schools believe because I am Mexican that is not good enough," said Isaac Cortes, a former ESL student. There should be a test that all students are required to take, so that Latinos do not need to feel like they are being singled out.
The purpose of ESL is to help Latino students learn how to read and write in English. Dr. Ember Conley, Park City School District Superintendent, said, "If a family designates that another language is spoken in the home, or if the language was the child's first language, we are required by federal law to complete an English proficiency." This shows that this program is designed for non-English speaking students even if they are fluent in English.
At McPolin Elementary about half of the students are Latino; three-fourths of them are put in ESL. As the grade goes up, the number/percentage of the Latino students in ESL decreases. For example, at McPolin Elementary, there are 75 students in the 5th grade, 35 of which are Latino, and 10 are in ESL. The students in ESL are taught based on grade level, not based on what they know. If the Latino student is below average, they are taught the same thing as another student in their grade even if the other student knows more.
Latinos are treated differently in public schools. We think that there should be a program that is offered to all students so that the Latinos, as well as other students, can learn based off of their knowledge, not grade or home-life.