I agree completely that Latin could provide entree to literacy. What's interesting is that Spanish isn't thought of in this way--and in clear terms as expressed below. That is, it lacks prestige.
Well what makes one language prestigious and another not so? Here's where power relations are really important and the fact that--because of the status of the speakers or the language itself due to the status of elite/elitest knowledge—a language is less likely to be viewed as a means for enhanced instruction.
Of course all of this is itself a social construction and Spanish could be imbued with the same or higher status as any other language, but we need leadership in this regard and goood policies.
Give Latin (and Potential Dropouts) a Chance
By Baynard Woods
September 22, 2008
Last year, I was lucky enough to teach Latin to a group of African-American and Latino juniors and seniors at a charter high school in Washington. The school had just, for the first time, made “adequate yearly progress” under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. But it had barely passed, and we knew we still had a long way to go. Many experts may believe that AYP is a poor measure of quality, but in this case it was an accurate indicator of a problem: Many of our students could not read well.
The school, and the literacy consultants it hired, had tried everything to bring students to understanding and independence through texts—and to help them pass the District of Columbia’s annual Comprehensive Assessment System, or CAS, test. On a schoolwide level, we were doing many things right, but the reading problem remained vast. So last year, after working as a literacy coach and a mentor teacher, I was able to try an elective in Latin, which I had taught before in other settings.
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