In today's oral arguments in Horne v. Flores, the long-running ELL case in Arizona, U.S. Supreme Court justices questioned what is sufficient academic progress for ELLs. Justice Antonin Scalia at one point asked: "Do you really think you haven't complied with adequate funding of ELL programs until you raise all of the ELL students up to the level of native-English speakers?" (Link to transcript is here.) It sounds a lot like a question that a lot of educators ask about the No Child Left Behind Act. Is it appropriate for the federal education law to require ELLs to meet ...


Nearly 60 percent of 1st- and 2nd-year medical students at Canada's University of British Columbia speak at least one language other than English at a moderate or advanced level, but many still say they don't feel proficient enough to use it with patients, according to a study published in the BC Medical Journal. The Vancouver Sun reported on the study yesterday (which I picked up from the TESOL in the News Blog). The authors of the study write: It is likely that students lack the basic medical terminology/vocabulary in their non-English languages and, as such, feel unqualified to communicate ...


Americans who perceive that immigrants who come to the United States these days are resistant to learning English and making new demands of schools to cultivate their native languages are wrong, argues a sociologist in the May 2009 issue of American Journal of Education. His article about immigrant trends is called: "What Have Immigrants Wanted from American Schools? What Do They Want Now? Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Immigrants, Language, and American Schooling." (Only an abstract is available free online.) Michael R. Olneck, a professor of educational policy studies and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, contends that Mexican-Americans and ...


One of the reasons that preschool attendance is low among Latinos in the United States is low-income neighborhoods have a scarcity of preschool slots, according to an article published yesterday in the Chicago Tribune. The article notes that funds from the federal stimulus package could help to alleviate the situation. The story doesn't mention a finding I came across in a research brief and blogged about a couple years ago: In Mexico, where preschool is free, low attendance in preschool isn't a problem....


Prolific blogger Larry Ferlazzo gives a nod to National Library Week by posting "the best sites to teach ELLs about libraries." I'm sure that Ferlazzo wouldn't disagree with me that one of the best ways to teach ELLs about libraries is to take them to a library. But these Web sites provide activities that could be used to set up the visit. I've noticed that Stephen D. Krashen, who is an expert on ELLs and a huge fan of libraries, consistently speaks up in public forums about the need for libraries in schools and communities to be well supported....


Alan Bersin, who was superintendent of San Diego City schools from 1998 to 2005, has been named by the Obama administration to lead the administration's policy on illegal immigration and drug-related violence near the U.S.-Mexican border, Politics K-12 reports. He's on the board of Democrats for Education Reform. He's also a former Secretary of Education for California. (Bersin is pictured here in a May 2006 Associated Press file photo taken by Rich Pedroncelli, during a state board of education meeting in Sacramento.) Here's the Los Angeles Times' take on the appointment. While we're on the topic of illegal ...


Judith Sloan, an artist and teacher, helps immigrant students from the International High School at LaGuardia Community College to shape their stories into a theater performance, The New York Times reports. And like a lot of arts programs, the project is in jeopardy because of a lack of funds....


Pennsylvania is requiring all its teacher-preparation programs to provide teacher-candidates with three credit hours of training in how to work with English-language learners and nine credit hours in how to work with special education students. The regulation was approved in June. By Jan. 1, 2011, all colleges and universities in Pennsylvania must meet the mandate, according to Leah M. Harris, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania education department. "We looked at the makeup of our students and classroom instruction, and it was very evident that teachers don’t just deal with students that some people would say are regular students in ...


Read The School Law Blog, written by Mark Walsh, for a preview of the arguments that are likely to be made in Horne v. Flores in the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, April 20....


A Boston Globe editorial follows up on a report that shows that the approach of Boston Public Schools to teaching English-language learners is widening the achievement gap at all levels between such students and native speakers of English. The dropout rate for ELLs also dramatically increased from 2003 to 2006. The editorial suggests that Boston educators should take a field trip to some smaller school districts in the state that were featured in a 2007 Rennie Center report as implementing "best practices" for ELLs. Margaret Adams, who is a member of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Association of ...


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