The positive effects of lessons in academic English from Word Generation, which I introduced to you on this blog a couple of weeks ago, are strongest for English-language learners, according to an article published at edweek.org today by my colleague Debra Viadero. (By the way, check out Debbie's new blog at EdWeek, Inside School Research.) After 12 weeks of lessons, students in Boston public schools who participated in the program scored as well on vocabulary tests as students who didn't participate who were 2 years older, according to the article. And the impact was strongest among ELLs. What's interesting ...


An editorial published this week in New Jersey's Star-Ledger supports the move by a Newark social-service agency to offer testing for Latinos to get a General Educational Development certificate, known as a GED, in Spanish. (Hat tip to Colorin colorado.) The editorial argues that getting a Spanish GED can be an important step for an immigrant toward educational or job improvement, such as being able to enroll in a community college to begin courses in English as a second language. While I've reported research findings on this blog that show a GED isn't nearly as valuable as a regular high ...


This week's Carnival of Education has a post by ELL teacher and blogger Larry Ferlazzo on how he's recently tried writing personal letters to some of his students. In the letter that he posts, which he says he handed to the student in a sealed envelope with his name on it, Ferlazzo tells the youth why he hopes he will stay in school. Ferlazzo says he'd be sorry if the young man wouldn't use all the "smarts" that he has. The letter contains some tough love. This is such a simple way for teachers to establish a connection with their ...


Sarra Said, an English-language learner who arrived in Tucson, Ariz., two years ago from Tripoli, Libya, has risen to the "Million Word Challenge" designed by her school's English-language-development department. The 15-year-old student at Amphitheater High School, whose first language is Arabic, has read more than 1,500,000 words in English books, according to a story in the Arizona Daily Star. She's now in the middle of reading Gone with the Wind. (Hat tip to TESOL in the News.) Said, who now reads "for fun," wasn't that interested in reading before the challenge, the article says. The million-word challenge sparked ...


The Chronicle of Higher Education has published an analysis of the prospects of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, or "DREAM," Act, which was reintroduced in Congress this spring and would provide a path to legalization for undocumented students who graduate from U.S. high schools. ImmigrationProf Blog notes that the article will be free to nonsubscribers to the publication for a few days. The article says there are "plenty of lawmakers who fiercely oppose the bill," but it "stands a good chance."...


About 8 percent of English-language learners in California, compared with 20 percent of students who aren't ELLs, finish high school having taken the required courses to be eligible to attend the California State University system, according to a study by WestEd released in a brief by the National High School Center. This is just one more statistic indicating that ELLs are disproportionately closed out of a curriculum that prepares them for college. The research brief reports on the course-taking patterns of ELLs based on a study of student transcripts from 54 high schools in California. A second brief released by ...


At a session at the annual meeting of the Education Writers Association, Amy Wilkins of the Education Trust urged reporters to ask the following question about states' and school districts' plans for using federal stimulus funds: "Is it good for kids and why—and beyond that, which kids is it good for?" What's more, she said, reporters ought to be asking how the stimulus funds will benefit low-income students, students of color, and English-language learners. So during the Q&A time, I asked members of the panel—who included Michael Casserly of the Council of the Great City Schools ...


The California Department of Education's press release about English-language learners' scores on the state's English-proficiency test reads about the same as the press releases on students' scores on this test for the last several years, as I recall. The percentage of ELLs who score "proficient" in the language keeps rising, but a gap still exists between the scores and the proportion of students who are reclassified as fluent in English, and thus, no longer in need of special programs. A sizable gap exists as well between the scores of ELLs and native speakers of English, though the press release doesn't ...


Ann Harris, an elementary school librarian in Texas, posts a request in the comment section of my last blog entry: what resources are available to help school librarians find Spanish-language or bilingual books for children? After all, she writes, "I cannot talk students into a book that does not look interesting, no matter the quality." She's found one good source, Isabel Schon's International San Diego Library site, but would like to know of more blogs or web sites that have reviews of Spanish-language books for children and youths. Can anyone help her out? I'm curious, too, to know what advice ...


The National Council of La Raza marks El Dia De Los Ninos, adapted from a Mexican "children's day," today by releasing a statistical brief with data showing that Latinos aren't being served well by U.S. schools, "Missing Out: Latino Students in America's Schools." The National Latino Children's Institute in San Antonio, Texas, is celebrating with a public forum on health and education here in the nation's capital that includes information on how organizations can apply for federal stimulus funds. The American Library Association also celebrates El Dia De Los Ninos each year with a promotion for library services to ...


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