October 23, 2016
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Becoming literate can be more than twice the challenge for children of two cultures,


Office of Communications 1239 University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403-1239 - T 541-346-3134 - comm.uoregon.edu

(This release is available online at http://tinyurl.com/nwbbmn)

Biliteracy conference explores the changing demographics in education 
UO experts, colleagues will examine how to meet the needs of bi-cultural student population

EUGENE, Ore. -- Becoming literate can be more than twice the challenge for children of two cultures, said Edward M. Olivos, a University of Oregon expert in biliteracy education.

"Providing instruction that fosters mastery in academic subjects for the English learner can be a challenge for schools as well," said Olivos, UO assistant professor of teacher education. "Creating equitable learning for language minority children means meeting the rapidly growing need for quality bilingual teachers."

That's no small order in Oregon, where, in the last 15 years, the percentage of English learners (EL) in Oregon public schools has grown by 163 percent, to nearly 68,000 students.

To examine the best ways for districts to meet the needs of these students, Olivos and the UO College of Education will host "New Destinations," the 2009 University of Oregon Conference on Biliteracy June 25-27 in Eugene. The conference brings together more than 200 educators to interact with 60 experts in biliteracy education. Public educators, administrators, parents and community members will meet with scholars and policy makers to learn more about the best methods research recommends for meeting the needs of the growing population of English learners in Oregon schools.

Olivos is the author of "The Power of Parents: A Critical Perspective of Bicultural Parent Involvement in Public Schools." He organized the conference to highlight the emergence of Oregon and other areas in the Northwest as the new destination points for families migrating from international points of origin, and from other states, including California and Texas.

"This is a critical point in the development of our educational system," said Olivos, who notes that Oregon benefits from being able to examine the successful - and less successful - approaches taken in other states to meet the increasing diversity in public schools.

Fifteen years ago, Latino students were 6.8 percent of Oregon's school population. Currently, they represent nearly 17 percent of the student population.

"At the current growth rate, the Oregon Department of Education projects that 28 percent of student enrollment in the state will be Latino by 2020," says Olivos. "As educators, we must look at how to best serve all students and provide the best access and opportunity."

For more information about the "New Destinations" conference, including registration, visit http://biliteracy09.uoregon.edu.

Keynote speakers for the conference include:

    • James Crawford, former Washington editor of Education Week, past-president of the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), and specialist in the politics of language.
    • Kathryn Lindholm-Leary, professor of Child and Adolescent Development at San Jose State University, expert in two-way immersion and other bilingual programs for the past 25 years whose research was used in establishing Title VII funding and program priorities for two-way immersion programs.
    • Jill Kerper Mora, associate professor of Teacher Education at San Diego State University, analyst of legal and policy issues that affect the education of language minority and immigrant students, including Proposition 227 in California.

About the UO College of Education 
The University of Oregon College of Education is the nation's top public education college according to U.S. News and World Report's 2010 edition of "American's Best Graduate Schools." Established in 1910, the college's roots trace back to 1880 when the UO instituted the state's "normal course" curriculum for training teachers. The college consistently attracts about $30 million in federal grants and contracts annually.

About the University of Oregon 
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 62 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contact: Linda Mears, communication director, UO College of Education, 541-346-1392, mears@uoregon.edu

Link: UO College of Education, http://education.uoregon.edu

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