Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

It’s a little after 6:30 at night inside Daugherty Elementary in Garland, but classes are in session. Alvaro Méndez stands in front of a group of eager students: They're parents learning English.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Imagine coming to this country and not knowing how to speak the language. More than 7,800 refugees came to Texas during the 2016 fiscal year, and many of them didn’t know English. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

For four decades most adults wanting to learn to English have turned to Texas public schools. That will change next summer, causing immediate confusion and concern for some, while others welcome the shift.

Rebecca McGuire

Nearly 20 percent of all Texas public school students don’t speak fluent English. The challenge for teachers is how to communicate with these students and help them learn. A group of future teachers from the University of North Texas got some practice recently by traveling to Seville, Spain.

Stella Chavez / KERA News

When families arrive from another country, school districts have to determine a student’s home language and explain to parents how the school system here works. We look at how one suburban school district is opening a center similar to those found in larger, urban districts.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Learning a new language isn’t easy. It’s even harder if you haven’t been to school in decades. That hasn’t stopped 85-year-old Pablo Valverde, an East Dallas man who’s setting an example for his younger classmates.

This grandfather — soon he'll be a great-grandfather — is finally learning to write and read English.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

In the heart of Oak Cliff is an institution -- Imported Books, a bookstore that Robert Jones has been running out of the front rooms of his house since the 1970s.

He's known as “Uncle Robert." But he's 91. And he’s getting ready to close his shop.


The Nation’s Report Card for student performance came out Wednesday, and, at first glance, the news may seem disappointing for Dallas. Math and reading scores for Dallas ISD kids were below the national average. But students here have shown improvement, especially in reading.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas claims more English language learners than any school district in Texas. Despite that, state funding cuts forced the district to close its "intake center" for immigrant families two years ago. But just in time for the new school year, which starts Monday, the center has reopened.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

In the West Dallas branch of the city’s public library system, students are learning English. That's no surprise -- especially for a neighborhood with many Latino immigrants.

What's different here, though, is that both parents and kids are in class -- right across the hallway. The dual effort is part of the new Atmos Energy Literacy Center, which opened in January as a partnership with Texas A&M University Commerce.