At about half of all city high schools, the only foreign language offered is Spanish, creating a challenge when, as is often the case, many students are already fluent Spanish speakers, according to a new article in City Limits.
What do high schools do with those students? “The schools design classes in Spanish for Spanish speakers,” says Maria Santos, chief of the DOE’s Office of English Language Learners and Foreign Languages, in the article. “They focus on developing more of their literacy in Spanish.” Sounds like a great plan -- but the article's author didn't speak to any students, so I'm left wondering whether this is true.
Many of the high schools I've visited take advantage of native Spanish speakers' language proficiency to let them place out of fulfilling the state's one-year foreign language requirement, and then fill their schedules with more English and math class time. I'd be willing to bet that this happens even in many of the high schools that offer instruction in French, Italian, Russian, and other languages. And that's a far cry from taking AP Spanish literature classes.