(Photo courtesy of New America Media)
Nancy Lopez and Daniel Jimenez
South Kern Sol / New America Media, Commentary
Editor’s Note: When it comes to math, English Learner (EL) students – the fastest growing segment of public school students in the country – continue to fall near the bottom in state and national assessments. According to the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), in California only 8 percent of fourth-graders and 3 percent of eight-grade EL students tested proficient. But for some immigrant students, who struggle to adjust to a new language and culture, math can be the great equalizer. Many discover a fluency in numbers made possible in large part thanks to exposure in their home countries, where math instruction often outpaces levels in U.S. classrooms.
Math is Harder in Mexico
Coming to the United States at the age of 13 was without doubt a difficult experience. Being at school and not understanding anything beyond “Hi”, “Bye” and “What is your name?” was very frustrating, especially because I cherished academics.