For children of Latino immigrants, a school's environment can play a big role in helping them to catch up academically with non-Hispanic whites, according to a study released this week by a researcher at Columbia University. The study finds, in fact, that children of Latino immigrants respond more to school-level factors than do immigrant children of many Asian backgrounds (with the exception of children of parents from Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos). Wen-Jui Han, an associate professor of social work for New York City's Columbia University, conducted the study; she examines the impact of school-level factors such as school resources, ...


As the federal government has paid more attention to how graduation rates are calculated, I've been hearing complaints across the country from educators who say accountability systems should give schools credit for the success of students who graduate from high school, but not in four years. The group of students who take longer than four years to get a high school diploma includes a lot of English-language learners, particularly those who move to the United States and enroll in U.S. schools as teenagers. In an article published today, "Graduating ASAP, if Not on State Timeline," The Washington Post puts ...


The recent issue of Educational Assessment, a journal published by Routledge, contains new research on assessment of English-language learners. The study that seems to break the most ground looks at the validity for ELLs of one state's math and science assessments for grades 5 and 8 (the researchers don't name the state). That study's findings are reported in the article called, "Validity and Fairness of State Standards-Based Assessments for English-Language Learners." Essentially, the math and science tests were found to be fair for ELLs, with or without accommodations. At the same time, the use of bilingual glossaries or word lists ...


Critics of Spain's plan to expand bilingual education question if some teachers involved in the effort have the qualifications to teach core subjects in English, according to an article by the Euro Weekly News Media Group. (I picked this up from TESOL in the News.) It's a question that is also sometimes raised in the debate over bilingual education in this country: Do schools have the resources and qualified teachers to pull it off well?...


The U.S. Department of Education launched a Web site today, USA Learns, with interactive audio activities designed to help immigrants learn the basics of English. We really are talking about "the basics" here. Activities on the site have goals such as helping someone to learn the words needed to rent an apartment or invite people to a party in English. The development of the site was directed by the Education Department's office of vocational and adult education. The lessons are aimed at adults. It can be hard for adult immigrants in this country to find opportunities to learn English. ...


I agree with eduflack that president-elect Barack Obama should give careful consideration to who he appoints to oversee programs for English-language learners in the U.S. Department of Education, particularly given the fact that Latinos supported him by a two-to-one margin in the election. (Also see "Education Secretary May Not Be Most Important K-12 Job" over at Campaign K-12.) I think that's what eduflack means when he writes that one of the most important posts in the U.S. Department of Education is the head of the Office of English Language Acquisition. One consideration is whether Mr. Obama will appoint ...


The Chicago Tribune reports this morning about how many immigrants are celebrating Barack Obama's election. (Hat tip to ImmigrationProf Blog.) Latinos, some of whom are immigrants and many of whom have immigrant parents, voted for Barack Obama over John McCain by a margin of two-to-one, according to a report released by the Pew Hispanic Center yesterday. Interestingly, the proportion of voters who are Latinos was exactly the same this election, 8 percent, as in 2004. Remember all of those immigrant students who left school and poured into the streets in the spring of 2006 calling for comprehensive immigration reform? Surely ...


Blogger the Angry Fish raises a valid concern in contending that some English-language learners may be turned off to school if their curriculum consists only of English and math—and the required physical education class. So here is this child's day: English class, History/Social Studies/Gov't, then Math class, then Math helper Class, then English helper class, then P.E. Now mind you the only reason this child has PE is because it is mandatory within the curriculum. So this child has no choice in his schedule, he has no shop class, no music, no drama, no art, nothing...


Spanish may be the most common language spoken by English-language learners in the United States overall, but in South Dakota, top status goes to Lakota. And in Montana, the top language for students with limited proficiency in English is Blackfoot, with Crow and Dakota as runners up. In Alaska, it's Yup'ik. These facts are evidence of the significant number of Native American or Alaska Native students who are identified as English-language learners in this country. (You can also find state-by-state data on the languages of ELLs here.) If that piques your interest, you may want to read my article, "Native ...


As Campaign K-12 reports, Oregon voters have rejected Measure 58, a state ballot measure that would have put a cap of two years on the amount of time English-language learners could receive instruction in their native language. It seemed that it would have also put a cap of two years on English-as-a-second-language instruction for ELLs. The vote was 53 percent to 47 percent against the measure. A favorable political climate for bilingual education programs could be coming, given the fact that the American people have chosen Sen. Barack Obama as president-elect. He has publicly endorsed transitional bilingual education, an education ...


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