Early English Education

By: Kara Tsuboi
By: Kara Tsuboi

When the pre-kindergarten Classroom on Wheels bus--or COW bus--pulls up, a group of 4 and 5 year olds come running, ready to learn.
Janet Long, COW Bus Assistant Teacher, "The basic underlying...is reading and literature. We start with the letters and numbers...try to make it fun."
These children are some of the lucky ones in the district who get to improve their english skills before they start kindergarten. Still, thousands of others enter school unprepared and unfamiliar with the english language. If the proposed bill becomes law, the district will then have the funds to provide teachers and classroom time for an additional summer session...to reach the children not enrolled in a year-round program.
In Nevada, the number of non-english speaking students has grown from 5000 in 1989 to 70,000 in 2004. Educators are in unanimous agreement that helping a student with his or her language barriers early on can only lead to stronger academic success in the future.
As Joanne Everts, the District's early childhood education director puts it, drop out prevention begins at birth.
But while they're thrilled with the idea of an extra 50-thousand dollars to create a *new program, some say more money for existing pre-kindergarten programs is also needed.
Right now, the entire state of Nevada receives seven million dollars to fund their pre-kindergarten education programs. The director of the Washoe county school district's program says that money is not enough to reach all the students in need, especially the non-english speaking ones. In Nevada, that number of non-english speaking students has grown from 5000 in 1989 to 70,000 in 2004. It's a segment of the population who particularly benefit form early education.


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