Immigrant Demand for English Classes Outstrips Supply in Massachusetts Town: Eduardo A. de Oliveira On PRI’s The World

Christine Tibor announces the results of Framingham's ESL Lottery. (Photo: E. A. de Oliveira)

Christine Tibor announces the results of Framingham's ESL Lottery. (All photos by E. A. de Oliveira)

“If you don’t speak English, you’re missing out at work, at home,” Luciene Campos said in Portuguese. “When you do, you’re more respected.”

She was one of some 600 immigrants, many of them Brazilian, who recently jammed the auditorium of a Framingham, Mass. middle school waiting for a lottery that would assign 185 slots in English as a Second Language classes.

The classes, Feet In 2 Worlds reporter Eduardo A. de Oliveira wrote on EthnicNEWz.org, are “an obligatory stop for immigrants eager to learn the language of their future — but not all of them would get enrolled.”

Monday,PRI’s nationally-syndicated radio show The World ran a radio piece by Eduardo about the ESL lottery. This is from the show’s website:

Brazilian immigrants make up about a third of the population of Framingham, Massaschusetts. Many newspapers, radio stations and businesses cater to the immigrant’s needs. But the Brazilians still want desperately to learn English. Eduardo de Oliveira reports that the town’s English classes are so popular that you need to win a lottery to get in.

You can listen to Eduardo’s report here:

[audio:http://64.71.145.108/audio/0216096.mp3]

Brazilian Luciene Campos takes a test to know which level she will be placed at. At her side is the little girl she babysits.

Brazilian Luciene Campos takes a test to know which level she will be placed at. At her side is the little girl she babysits.

Here are a couple of extra interviews:

Christine Tibor is the director of Framingham’s ESL program. Twenty–five years ago, Tibor was the program’s first teacher. In this interview she told Eduardo de Oliveira she knows how it feels to live in a foreign country and not be able to speak the language. During a trip to Venezuela, she survived on a diet of ham-and-cheese, the only two words she knew in Spanish.

[audio:http://www.jocelyngonzales.net/FI2W/fi2w_christine_tibur.mp3]

Fernando Castro is the owner of five tax preparation stores in Massachusetts. He was a student in thel ESL program 19 years ago. Now, he’s an occasional sponsor of the program.

[audio:http://www.jocelyngonzales.net/FI2W/fi2w_fernando_castro.mp3]
Christine Tibor receives assistance from Spanish- and Portuguese-language translators.

Christine Tibor receives assistance from Spanish- and Portuguese-language translators.

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3 comments

  1. Thank you for this very important story. CLINIC has just launched a project that will help employers invest in ESL classes for immigrant workers.
    Your article/blog highlights the need to find creative and innovative ways to integrate individuals that arrive in the U.S. ready to work and eager to contribute.
    Thank you.

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