Pressure from the office for civil rights of the U.S. Department of Education pushed the Salt Lake City school district to bolster services for English-language learners, according to a number of teachers who work directly with such students. I interviewed them during a visit there last month. My article, "English-Learners' Lot Improves With Federal Pressure," was published on Friday at Education Week. At the same time, the office for civil rights has recently had a reputation for being soft on enforcement, William L. Taylor, the chairman of the Washington-based Citizens Commission on Civil Rights, told me in an interview ...


The Arizona Republic takes stock of how educators of English-language learners feel the controversial four-hour program is working in three Arizona school districts. The program was mandated as part of a law the legislature passed to respond to the long-running Flores v. Arizona federal court case involving funding for ELLs. (Now called Horne v. Flores, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on it this month.) All students who are ELLs are required to receive four hours of instruction in English skills separately from other students each school day. In all three of the school districts, the number ...


A few years back, California was resisting a requirement under the No Child Left Behind Act to assess English-language learners as early as kindergarten on whether they could read or write in English. State officials thought that it should be sufficient that the state already tested students in the earliest grades in speaking and listening. California lost that battle and began to develop an English-proficiency test that would include reading and writing, as well as speaking and listening, for students in kindergarten and 1st grade. I haven't had a chance to report on how assessing ELLs in English proficiency in ...


A budget bill in Wisconsin, which hasn't yet been voted on by the legislature, includes a rule that voucher schools in Milwaukee must teach bilingual education if more than 10 percent of their students are English-language learners, according to the Associated Press.


Larry Ferlazzo, a prolific blogger and teacher of ELLs at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif., uses lessons from community organization in helping immigrant students to adjust.


A study of how Hispanic 10th graders are performing on mathematics and English-language arts tests in Massachusetts compares the test scores of various subgroups of Hispanic students. It also compares Hispanic students in general with non-Hispanic students. Overall, Hispanic 10th graders' scores are significantly lower than those of non-Hispanic students in the state, but the average scores for Hispanic students did increase by a statistically significant amount, which has helped to narrow the achievement gap. One of the findings of the study, which looked at test scores from the 2002-03 school year to the 2005-06 school year, is that Hispanic ...


The National High School Center has posted the presentation slides and recording for a Webinar it hosted last month about best practices for educating English-language learners at the high school level. The center also recently posted several research briefs on this topic, which I wrote about in a blog post, "More About the Lack of Access for ELLs to a College-Prep Curriculum."...


Marius "Mimi" Kothor, is graduating from high school this month and has a full scholarship to the University of Rochester, according to a story in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. She's a student who arrived in the United States at about age 10 with out any schooling.


A policy update about the education of English-language learners in Texas, and the United States as a whole, says that "after decades of experimentation," the United States now has "islands" of effective instruction. The 15-page overview of ELL instruction across the country says that the growing numbers and distribution of such students "make these islands of effective efforts no longer sufficient for addressing existing and expanding needs." The update was published by the Intercultural Development Research Association, a private, nonprofit organization with a mission of improving public schools. The policy update, "Education of English Language Learners in U.S. and ...


The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway, Travels With Charley, by John Steinbeck, and To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, are several books that are accessible for students of English as a second language, according to a post by One Language that is part of the ESL/EFL/ELL Carnival. The carnival is being hosted this month by Alice Mercer, a computer-lab teacher at an elementary school in Sacramento, Calif., who has a blog, Reflections on Teaching....


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