How U.S. schools are supporting Iraqi refugee children is one bright spot in a report released today by the International Rescue Committee called "Iraqi Refugees in the United States: In Dire Straits." The report is based on interviews with Iraqi refugees and people who support them in Atlanta and Phoenix. The authors of the report met Iraqi parents in those cities who were frustrated with their own situation but hopeful about the prospects of their children. The report's authors talked with Iraqi students and educators at the DeKalb International Student Center in Atlanta and the Montebello Elementary School in ...


Advocates for Children of New York and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund released a report today contending that English-language learners were not well served by the break up of two Brooklyn high schools into smaller schools. As the New York City Department of Education continues to close large schools and replace them with smaller ones, "ELL students—who experience some of the lowest graduation rates in the city—are left with fewer and fewer options or are simply left behind," the report argues. At the same time, let me note that someone has filed a complaint...


The first four Somali Bantu, a refugee group that starting arriving in Lewiston, Maine, in 2005 have graduated from high school in that community, according to a story in the Sun Journal. In Somalia, the Bantus lived in farming villages that tended not to have schools. Then they fled Somalia for Kenya and spent years in refugee camps. The four who graduated had little or no formal schooling when they arrived in the United States in 2005. The article says that they spent a year in classes for English-language learners before moving to mainstream classes. The article doesn't say how ...


A national analysis by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford released yesterday contained some good news about English-language learners in charter schools, according to an article by my colleague Lesli A. Maxwell posted yesterday at edweek.org. Students in charter schools were compared with students in regular public schools. The study found that African-American and Hispanic students did worse academically in charter schools, while students from low-income families and English-language learners in charter schools did better on state tests in reading and math than their counterparts in other public schools....


Illinois' requirement for school districts to offer bilingual education is hurting English-language learners, argues Anne Swanson, an assistant superintendent for the Woodland Community Consolidated School District in Illinois, in a paper released this month by the Lexington Institute. "Use of native-language instruction should be permissive and not mandatory," she writes. And the Illinois Association of School Boards apparently agrees with her. Ben Schwarm, the associate executive director for that organization, writes in a preface to the paper that his organization passed a resolution last year saying it would ask the state legislature to make bilingual education optional. But he told ...


Two trends in professional development that are sweeping the country—Response to Intervention, or RTI, and the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, or SIOP—will converge during a summer institute in Long Beach, Calif. The workshop is a sign that how to carry out Response to Intervention, an approach in which educators try various interventions before determining if students need to be evaluated for special education, for ELLs is a new hot topic on the horizon. Jana Echevarria, a special education professor at California State University, Long Beach, and MaryEllen Vogt, an associate professor of education at the same university,...


A number of education organizations in California filed a lawsuit in a state court today alleging that California is violating federal laws and the state constitution by suspending the monitoring of specialized education programs for at least one year. (My first thought on this was, "Someone must be trying to save some money in a state desperately short of cash.") The lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco against the state, says programs that won’t be reviewed include those serving students who are English-language learners, migrants, neglected or delinquent, or homeless. (See the press release ...


The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition is churning out Webinars about English-language learners these days. I've already promoted one about testing little kids in English-language proficiency, scheduled for this coming Monday, June 15, 2 p.m., Eastern time. Sign up here. A couple of others are planned as well for this month: June 16, 2 p.m., Eastern time. "Participation and Performance of English-Learners in the National Assessment of Educational Progress." Register here. June 18, 2 p.m., Eastern time. "Making Tests Fair for English-Language Learners." Sign up here. Update: Here's one more: June 19, 2 p.m., Eastern ...


In The New York Times column After Deadline, Philip B. Corbett reports that news coverage of Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court has raised some questions about the usage of words such as "Latino," "Hispanic," and "immigrant." It's a topic that is relevant to this blog since 68 percent of English-language learners are Spanish-speaking, and teachers and administrators may often be in the position of describing them to others. Corbett notes that Sotomayor refers to herself as "Latina." He adds that while "Latino" or "Hispanic" are acceptable, some people have a strong preference. He says that reporters ...


Education Week has put together an online package of articles about English-language learners that covers hot topics in the field such as assessment, placement, and ways to enhance instruction for ELLs, such as through after-school programs or technology. It includes a couple of commentaries as well as news articles and sells for $4.95. In case you are wondering, I didn't write all the articles. One on research and another on assessment, for example, were written by my colleagues. So far, Education Week has published similar packages on teacher-performance pay, response to intervention, and math and science education as part ...


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