The Most-Read Blog Posts of 2015 From Learning the Language
Reports about undocumented immigrant children banned from state-run preschools, English-language learners' home languages. and studies on ELL reclassification and language proficiency were among the top ELL stories of 2015 on this blog.
Here's a look at the 10 most popular blog posts:
Released in the spring, a report from the Education Commission of the States offers a series of policy recommendations that it says states and the federal government can adopt to improve the academic performance of English-language learners.
Researchers who spent two years documenting the education of Somali Bantu refugees in a Chicago elementary school argue that educators should do more to adapt to the culture of newly arrived immigrant students.
In March, the U.S. Department of Education previewed a strategy to elevate the national focus on English-language learners. The plan, which touches on topics ranging from parent engagement to teacher preparation, is a "framing guideline for how we want to think about English-learners across different levels of the organization," said Libia Gil, the head of the U.S. Department of Education's office of English language acquisition.
In January 2015, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice issued a new guidance on the rights of the nation's English-language learners, reminding public schools of their obligations under federal law to ensure the students have equal access to a high-quality education. The guidance came on the heels of the recent 40th anniversaries of Lau v. Nichols, a landmark Supreme Court decision, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, both of which expanded rights of students with limited English proficiency.
A study of seven high-poverty districts in the Seattle metropolitan area found that it took nearly four years for elementary school-aged English-language learners to develop English proficiency.
Spanish is not the top home language for English-language learner students in some states, though it is the most commonly spoken native language for ELLs nationally, according to separate fact sheets released this summer by the Migration Policy Institute and Middlebury Interactive Languages.
A Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends report concluded that an overwhelming majority of Hispanics say it is important that future generations of Hispanics living in the United States speak Spanish. The survey, "When Labels Don't Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity" found that 75 percent of Hispanic adults say it is "very important" that young people speak Spanish while another 20 percent say it is "somewhat important."
In September, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice completed a 10-chapter tool kit designed to help public schools ensure that English-language learners have access to a high-quality education.
English language-learners who enter kindergarten with a basic grasp of academic language, "either in their primary language or in English," are more likely over time to be reclassified as former ELLs, an analysis from Oregon State University has found.
Hat tip to my colleagues Lillian Mongeau and Christina Samuels, co-authors of the Early Years blog, for this post about undocumented immigrant children banned from enrolling in that state's new preschool program.