I've learned from my reporting and the questions that edweek.org received during a recent chat about the future of the education of English-language learners that schools struggle with how to help ELLs to graduate with a high school diploma. It seems that, in particular, many school districts struggle with how to provide ELLs who arrive as teenagers in U.S. schools with access to the regular core curriculum. I've written an article, "High School Credits for ELLs Still a Challenge," for this week's Education Week about this issue....


A federal court is holding hearings to decide if the desegregation order for Chicago Public Schools should come to an end. A reporter from Medill Reports Chicago has been attending the hearings and reported on them in "Schools' Efforts for Bilingual Students Questioned." Chicago Public Radio reporters have also been blogging about this. One of the groups, according to Chicago Public Radio, that is pushing hardest for the federal court's consent decree to stay in place is the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. MALDEF lawyer Ricardo Meza contends that programs for ELLs still have a lot of problems: ...


A middle school principal within the Lawrence, Mass., public schools credits the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, or SIOP, with helping the school district to make some of the goals the state set for English-language learners under the No Child Left Behind Act, according to a Jan. 25 Boston Globe article. SIOP is a set of strategies that teachers can use to teach both academic content and language to students at the same time. A number of school districts, and some states, are providing workshops for regular classroom teachers to learn SIOP techniques. The Lawrence district met the goals set by ...


Education Week's new book, The Obama Education Plan: An Education Week Guide, which should be available in bookstores in about two weeks, has an excerpt from the newspaper featuring English-language learners. It's an article I wrote in Dec. 5, 2007, "Instructional Model May Yield Gains for English-Learners," about Brooklyn International High School's success with helping immigrants who arrive in U.S. schools as teenagers to graduate. The book matches aspects of President Barack Obama's agenda for education with Education Week articles that provide insight into how that agenda might be carried out. For example, my article is matched with his ...


The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the case of Flores v. Arizona in April. The lawsuit was filed in 1992 and concerns whether Arizona adequately funds the education of English-language learners. In the meantime, the Arizona Republic continues to print opinions on the case, including that of Tom Horne, the Arizona superintendent of public instruction, who is one of the parties who asked the nation's highest court to take up the case. For columnist E.J. Montini's take on the lawsuit, read "Kids Still Losers in English-Learner Suit," published Jan. 15. For Mr. Horne's response ...


Morry Bamba is one of New York City's "students with interrupted formal education," or SIFE. He attended school for the first time when he arrived in New York City from the West African nation of Guinea at age 15. He's now a student at the English Language Learners and International Support Preparatory Academy, or ELLIS Academy, in the Bronx, which enrolls immigrant students who have arrived in the United States as teenagers. Like many SIFE students, Morry struggles with reading. He is one of the students who was interviewed in an article about SIFE students, "In School for the First ...


The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education has investigated whether New York City's new small high schools have discriminated against English-language learners or students with disabilities by excluding them from admission during the first three years of each school's existence. The office has determined that the schools have NOT excluded these students, and thus haven't discriminated against them. See my colleague Christina Samuels' August 2007 article about the issue, "Small Schools in N.Y.C. Pressed on Spec. Ed." eduwonk provided a link today to OCR's Jan. 15 letter, which includes data to back up ...


Before voters in the city of Nashville rejected a proposal to make English the official language of government in that city, a Nashville physician wrote an opinion piece about what it might feel like to be a child translator for health matters. In "Children Often Caught in Translating Nightmares," published Jan. 20 in the Tennessean, Dr. Gregory Plemmons, the medical director of Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital, argued against the English-only proposal because he thought it would make it more likely that immigrant children would end up translating for family members at clinics and hospitals. (hat tip to Colorin colorado.) ...


Only 29 states translate their parent guides about tests into a language other than English, according to an analysis by Second Language Testing, Inc., a company that both develops and translates tests to serve English-language learners. The company reports its findings from an analysis of states' parent test guides in the January edition of its newsletter. The guides typically explain state academic standards and tests to parents and give them advice about how they can support their children. They often include information for interpreting score reports as well, according to the newsletter. The authors of the newsletter contend that "if ...


For Inauguration Day, a class of ELL students at Pearl Lean Elementary School in Warren, Mich., who are mostly newcomers from Iraq, learned how to sing "Hail to the Chief" and say the words to the U.S. presidential oath of office. See the video from a local news station that features them singing and reciting here. "I hope they can feel like they are kind of like a community—that they are really part of America now," says Barbara Gottschalk, an English-as-a-second-language teacher at the school, in the news video....


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