It's not easy these days to get insight into the Obama Administration's priorities for English-language learners. But maybe U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will fill us in a bit more during his press conference, scheduled for 10 a.m. Eastern Time tomorrow at the Oyster-Adams Bilingual School here in the Washington area. The preK-8 school provides all instruction through dual language programs, in which students who are native speakers of English and students who are native speakers of Spanish learn both languages in the same classrooms. The school always has a waiting list for students who want to ...


English-language learners did increasingly worse academically in Boston Public Schools in the three years following passage of Question 2, according to an exhaustive study released this week on the impact of the ballot measure approved in 2002 that greatly curtailed transitional bilingual education in the state. An April 7 article in the Boston Globe summarizes the study. The dropout rate for ELLs in Boston high schools increased significantly from 2003 to 2006, the years examined by the study, and in some areas of achievement, ELLs lost ground in comparison with other students. The research was conducted by the Maurico Gaston ...


In an online commentary published today at edweek.org, U.S. Rep. Mike Honda argues that the United States would benefit financially with passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or "DREAM Act." Honda is a Democrat who is co-sponsoring the bill, which was reintroduced in Congress last month and would provide a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants who graduate from U.S. high schools and meet certain criteria. Honda contends that the U.S. is losing out on its investment in undocumented students in K-12 schooling by not enabling them to go on to ...


If you live in the Boston area, you might want to attend a forum, "Building Capacity to Serve English-Language Learners in U.S. Schools," on April 21. The rest of us can watch a video of the event, which is expected to be posted after that date on the Web site of The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University. The forum is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will have four panelists, including Paul Reville, the Massachusetts secretary of education and a senior lecturer on education for Harvard's Graduate School of Education, and Nonie K. ...


Former Mexican President Vicente Fox proposed an interesting idea recently in a speech at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Fox said he hopes that some day Mexico, Canada, the United States, and the rest of Latin America will be able to function like the European Union, according to a story in the San Antonio Express-News. Since 54 percent of English-language learners who were born outside the United States come from Mexico, I think this would be an interesting concept for some teachers to bring up for discussion in their classes for ELLs. How exactly does the European Union ...


Just wanted to let you know that we'll have Margo Gottlieb, an expert on ELL testing and the lead developer for the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment consortium, as a guest for an online chat next week, "How to Assess English-Language Learners." The chat will take place on Thursday, April 9, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time. You don't need any special software to participate. You can sign up now for a reminder for the chat at the link above. I'll be moderating the chat and start taking questions for Gottlieb about a half hour before ...


Over the last eight years, with prodding from the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights, the Salt Lake City school district has stepped up training for teachers on how to work with English-language learners. A story published this week in the Salt Lake Tribune (which I picked up from This Week in Education) tells how Salt Lake City was one of 10 Utah districts that was investigated by the federal government for not giving adequate instruction to English-language learners. And earlier this month, it became the last of those districts to become free of federal scrutiny. The ...


Because the number of Latino students has grown so much nationally and many are concentrated in cities, it's no surprise that all of the five school districts nominated to receive the 2009 Broad Prize for Urban Education have a significant number of Latino students. A few of the districts are being cited especially for their success with narrowing the achievement gap between Latinos and white students. (See press releases from districts here and here.) I'm curious if that means the districts also have been successful with ELLs. In a school district such as the Socorro Independent School District in Texas, ...


Suburban schools have become more diverse overall since the 1993-94 school year, according to a study released yesterday by the Pew Hispanic Center. But the exposure of the average white student in individual schools to other students who are of a different ethnic or racial background has increased only slightly. For example, the study found that the average white suburban student attended a school in which 75 percent of students were white in the 2006-07 school year; in the 1993-94 school year, the student body would have been 83 percent white on average. See the Associated Press story and USA ...


The Asian-American Legal Defense and Education Fund is calling for the Storm Lake school district in Iowa to remove any references to suspension or disciplinary action from the record of a student who refused to take an English-language proficiency test. See my previous post about the matter, "A Storm in Storm Lake." The press release says that honors student Lori Phanachone has been mislabeled as an English-language learner because she said on a home-language survey that she speaks Lao. (Federal law requires school districts to test students who speak a language other than English at home in English proficiency upon ...


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