More than a year ago, when Elvira Arellano, a Mexican and the single mother of a U.S.-born son, was deported to Mexico, I wondered who would care for her son. She had been a cleaning woman at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. But then, after she was arrested and told to appear before immigration authorities, she took refuge in a Chicago church for a year rather than be deported. When she left the church to give a speech in Los Angeles, she was arrested and deported. Saul had participated in rallies and met with Washington politicians in a campaign ...


President-elect Barack Obama's transition team includes at least one person—Juliet V. Garcia, the president of the University of Texas-Brownsville—who must know quite a lot about English-language learners. Her university is located on the bank of the Rio Grande River, which defines the U.S.-Mexico border, and enrolls a great number of ELLs or former ELLs. Before she became president of UT-Brownsville in 1992, she was president of Texas Southmost College, a community college in Brownsville, for six years. Ms. Garcia, a Mexican-American, has a Ph.D. in communications and linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin....


The Dallas Morning News reports today that the Dallas school district had, until last summer, a practice of giving foreign teachers with visas fake Social Security numbers to quickly get them on the payroll. Some of the phony numbers were used to conduct background checks of new hires who had been brought in to teach bilingual courses, the article says....


While watching a documentary play this week, sponsored by Vital Voices Global Partnership, I was amazed by how some women who have experienced great suffering have gone on to do a lot to help other people. This could be the case with some of the English-language learners in this country as well, many of whom have experienced war or extreme poverty. Or they may be able to identify with some of the stories of these women. The play, Seven, tells the story of seven women from around the world who have fought for human rights. Those seven are Hafsat Abiola ...


The day after Thanksgiving, two weeks from today, is the deadline for the next carnival for blog entries about the education of English-language learners, which I am hosting. I've already received some excellent submissions, forwarded to me by the carnival's founder, Larry Ferlazzo. Since the most recent edition of this niche carnival, Mr. Ferlazzo has noted that some new folks have started blogs about language issues (here and here). I hope that they will get involved in the carnival. You can use this form to submit a blog entry. But the form hasn't always been up and running consistently. So ...


Schools in New York state should receive an extra funding weight for English-language learners of about twice that of regular education students if ELLs are to get an adequate education, according to a cost study by Multicultural Education, Training & Advocacy, Inc. and commissioned by the New York Immigration Coalition. The study is summarized in a policy brief that was released yesterday. Despite New York's overall gains in graduation rates over the last four years, graduation rates for ELLs have decreased over that time, the study notes. Currently, the additional funding weight for ELLs in New York beyond a regular student ...


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?...


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