Over at the other blog that I contribute to, Curriculum Matters, I've featured a guide released yesterday by Teachers College intended to help educators and students overcome misunderstandings about Muslims. Interestingly, about one in ten of New York City's students are Muslim....


The federal government isn't the only entity trying to support educators in implementing instruction for English-language learners that is aligned with English-proficiency standards. Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc., or TESOL, has joined the effort as well by releasing a book, Paper to Practice: Using the TESOL English Language Proficiency Standards in the PreK-12 Classrooms. In fact, states have developed their own English-proficiency standards, many of which don't look exactly like the TESOL standards. But I presume both officials in the federal government and members of TESOL figure the same general principles for implementation apply to whatever ...


The New York City school district has commissioned what is believed to be the first standardized test for assessing English-language learners who are "students with interrupted formal education," or SIFE, and has just distributed it to schools, I report in an article published today at edweek.org. The test was published by Pearson. Elaine C. Klein and Gita Martohardjono, linguists from the City University of New York Queens College and graduate center who developed the test, told me they are trying to work out an agreement with the publisher for further distribution. So it is not yet available for use ...


Though Texas has been permitted to postpone submitting a plan to a federal court to improve programs for high school ELLs until the state's appeal in the case can be heard, legislators have still introduced some bills this session aimed at improving programs for ELLs. For example, state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, a Democrat, filed a bill that would require the Texas Education Agency to more aggressively monitor results for English-learning students, the El Paso Times reported in a Feb. 20 article (hat tip to TESOL in the News Blog.) Bilingual educators from across the state recently held a demonstration at ...


One issue concerning immigration and education that has received a great deal of media coverage is whether students who are brought to the United States illegally by their parents and graduate from U.S. high schools should have a path to legalization, if they attend college or serve in the military. The Washington Post Magazine ran a profile over the weekend of one of these students, Columbian native Juan Gomez, a 20-year-old finance student at Georgetown University. New America Media recently reported that Harvard University has an engineering student, Juan Hernandez-Campos, who is also undocumented. When he was running for ...


I'm relying on the good work of my colleagues over at Politics K-12 to understand what parts of the stimulus package may be used to benefit English-language learners. Michele McNeil's post today explains how school districts may tap into an innovation fund of $650 million that is part of the $5 billion in money from the state stabilization fund that will go to the U.S. Department of Education and Arne Duncan for innovation and incentive grants. School districts ought to apply to use some of the innovation fund to serve ELLs. But notice that your district must have had ...


Margarita Pinkos, a former director of the U.S. Department of Education's office of English-language acquisition under the George W. Bush administration, has gone back to where she left off in Palm Beach County as an administrator for English-language learners. She's quoted in a South Florida Sun Sentinel article published today as challenging the Florida Department of Education's proposal to reduce hours of training that reading teachers in Florida must attain to work with English-language learners. Pinkos is the executive director of multicultural education for Palm Beach County schools. She had that same job before she moved to Washington in ...


If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I try to draw your attention to efforts to support students in maintaining and improving their native languages. UNESCO released an online publication today that helps educators and everyone else identify just how serious the problem is of the continuing disappearance of some of the world's languages. The publication is the electronic version of the new edition of UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger of Disappearing. The atlas gives information for about 2,500 endangered languages around the world. For example, 199 have fewer than ...


WestEd researchers today released a guide they'd been working on for 18 months, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, to help states create standards and tests for English-language proficiency. It's a clearly written guide that poses a lot of important issues for states to consider, such as who serves on the committee to craft standards and tests for ELLs, what is the intended purpose of them, and to whom that purpose is communicated. Of course, you don't have to remind me that all states have already created English-proficiency standards and tests, which were required by the No Child ...


Kathie Dior of Dior Publishing in Lafayette, Ind., sent me a teacher's edition to a grammar book for teaching English as a second language. Each chapter starts with an installment of a mystery story, and the lessons about English verb tenses, vocabulary, or how to improve listening comprehension are loosely built around that mystery segment. Here's an excerpt of the mystery: Suddenly, I hear something behind the door. Thud! My goodness! I'm so scared that I can feel my heart pounding in my chest! What could possibly be behind the door? The story's literary quality pales against classics such as "The...


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