Mexican curriculum in Oregon schools stirs debate
September 20, 2007, Associated Press
Some Oregon high schools are adopting Mexico’s public school curriculum to help educate Spanish-speaking students with textbooks, an online Web site, DVDs and CDs provided free by Mexico to teach math, science and even U.S. history.
The Oregon Department of Education and Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education are discussing aligning their curricula so courses will be valid in both countries.
Similar ventures are under way in Yakima, Wash., San Diego, Calif., and Austin, Texas. “Students come to us with such complex issues,” said Tim King, director of Clackamas Middle College and Clackamas Web Academy, where a virtual course using Mexico’s learning materials got started this week. “We’ve had to change in order to fit into each school scene, become more complex and open ourselves up to new situations.” …
In Oregon, learning materials are free, but districts must pay for staff. So far, two computer servers supporting Mexico’s Web site cost the state about $10,000 to install and about $2,200 annually to maintain. One of the biggest challenges will be finding more Spanish-speaking instructors, said Burk of the Oregon Department of Education. He said about 15 percent of Oregon students are Latino, compared with 2 percent of teachers.