UHV fall education symposium to address bilingual education issues

Nov. 16, 2013 at 5:16 a.m.

Fred Litton, dean of the UHV School of Education and Human Development.

Fred Litton, dean of the UHV School of Education and Human Development.

After the University of Houston-Victoria was designated a Hispanic-serving institution in May, UHV School of Education and Human Development leaders decided to make bilingual education the focus of the school's fall symposium.

"The local demographics show that a significant number of public school students in this area are Hispanic," said Fred Litton, dean of the UHV School of Education and Human Development. "We thought it was a timely topic, and it would be of interest to area educators as well as university faculty, staff and students."

"Trends and Issues in Bilingual Education" starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Alcorn Auditorium of UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The symposium is free and open to the public.

The speaker for the event is Leonard Baca, director of the Bilinguals United for Education and New Opportunities Center for Multicultural Education and a professor in the School of Education at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

"Dr. Baca is very much on top of the literature in terms of what the professional opinions are on trends and issues, and he also has some personal issues to share," Litton said. "I think the attendees will learn quite a bit from him."

Baca will talk about the concept of bilingual education, where it came from, federal legislation and an overview of different types of programs. He also plans to discuss research on the effectiveness of the programs, and he will explore the different models of bilingual education.

Baca said one of the biggest issues facing bilingual education is a resistance movement coming from a group called U.S. English. The group is campaigning to make English the official language of the U.S.

"Then there are other groups who are advocating for multilingual speakers for a global economy," Baca said. "They would like for public schools to make it a goal to have children speak more than one language."

Baca has taught courses in bilingual education and bilingual special education at CU since 1973. He co-wrote the books "Language Minority Students With Disabilities" and "The Bilingual Special Education Interface."

Litton said special education students usually are at a disadvantage in the learning process. Special education students who speak another language may be at an extra disadvantage.

"It's called 'twice exceptional,'" Litton said. "Dr. Baca has written the most-used textbook about that subject."

Baca was named the Teacher of the Year in 1984 by the Colorado Association for Bilingual Education. In 1994, he was recognized by the Colorado Legislature and the city of Denver for outstanding contributions to the field of bilingual education.

The BUENO Center for Multicultural Research conducts research, provides training and does service projects to promote quality education with an emphasis on cultural pluralism.

This is the third symposium hosted by the UHV School of Education and Human Development. The school hosts a symposium about a different education topic each semester. The two previous ones focused on emotional intelligence and autism.

For more information about the symposium or the UHV School of Education and Human Development, contact the school at education@uhv.edu or 361-570-4262.



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