Dr Pedro Noguera
9:53 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Emphasis - May 25

Rich Egger's guest is Dr Pedro Noguera, who is a sociologist  and teacher from New York University.  He was one of the keynote speakers at this year's Dealing With Difference Institute at Western Illinois University.

Noguera said he remains passionate about teaching because education is so heavily implicated in the problems facing society yet it's also part of the solution.

“If you think about issues -- whether it be crime or poverty, even bigger issues like the environment -- education always featured as at least part of the solution to understand what we've got to do to address these issues,” Noguera said.

“When we invest in education and we think about how to educate the next generation, we're really doing the work of planning for our future.”

But Noguera stressed schools alone cannot solve the problems. He said children also need to receive the proper supervision at home. He said education should begin before a child ever sets foot in a classroom.

Noguera would also like to see a greater emphasis placed on early education. He said America is one of the few countries among wealthy nations that does not provide universal pre-school.

He acknowledged that universal pre-school would be costly, yet he believes it would represent a savings.

“We have a lot of research showing children who get it are more likely to be employed and more likely to earn more money and less likely to get into trouble,” Noguera said.

Noguera said children from immigrant families who speak a language other than English are seen as deficient by some schools, but he thinks language diversity is a good thing that should be embraced.

“We should actually encourage children to learn multiple languages because there are huge advantages in terms of your job prospects and just overall in terms of your sense of enlightenment when you can speak more than one language.”

He would like to see foreign languages taught to American students at an earlier age.

Noguera also said immigrants are moving not just into large metropolitan areas but also into rural areas. He thinks it is good for the economy, which he said depends heavily on low wage immigrant labor.

“When communities are able to attract immigrants, those communities tend to experience a resurgence in their economy and become much more vibrant places to live.”