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...


Over at civilrights.org, a blogger quotes David Goldberg, the senior counsel and senior policy analyst at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, as saying that the stimulus package doesn't have any money for high school reform or English-language learners, which Goldberg calls "missed opportunities." Many English-language learners, however, would benefit from the billions allocated for Title I, the part of the No Child Left Behind Act for disadvantaged students. According to Quality Counts 2009, 66 percent of ELLs are from families that have an income below 200 percent of the poverty level, while that's the case with only 37 ...


"Foolishness" is the word that Eduflack uses to characterize Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne's proposal to reduce the funding for English-as-a-second-language programs in Arizona by $30 million for next school year. I mentioned Horne's proposal here. Update: Writers of an editorial in the Tucson Citizen say Horne should "cough up the data" to back his proposal....


I learned recently that Amherst Regional Public Schools in Massachusetts clusters its English-language learners in four different elementary schools according to the children's home language. In a blog post, Catherine A. Sanderson, a member of the school committee for that district, explained that one elementary school has a concentration of Spanish-speaking students, another of Chinese-speaking students, another of those who speak Khmer, and yet another of children who speak Korean. About 260 of the district's 4,000 students, by the way, are English-language learners. Here's an excerpt from Sanderson's blog: So, why do we cluster kids by language? This decision ...


The eighth installment of a series about a school year in the life of a 9-year-old named Bill Clinton Hadam didn't say one thing that this reader wanted to know: How did a Congolese boy who grew up in a refugee camp in Tanzania get that name? I had to turn to the fine print in "about this project" over at the Christian Science Monitor to learn that bit of information. But in a very captivating way, this week's "Who's failing—the student or the test?" installment of the series "Little Bill Clinton: A school year in the life of a...


If you live in Phoenix, you might want to drop by Senate Hearing Room 1 in the State Capitol at 2 p.m. tomorrow and hear Arizona Superintendent of Instruction Tom Horne explain how Arizona's program to teach English skills to English-language learners for a four-hour block each day can be implemented for about $9 million. This school year, the state spent $40 million on the program. I just got a press releasing saying he'll explain in his annual "state of education" speech why the program needs $30 million less of taxpayers' money for the 2009-10 school year. Some Arizona ...


At least one school district is cutting funds for family literacy centers and another is thinking about slashing English-as-a-second-language classes for parents. The Provo, Utah, school district has slashed $230,000 from schools with family literacy centers for English-language learners. Immigrant parents are pushing the school board of Fairfax County, Va., to preserve English classes that serve thousands of foreign-born adults. Even before the economic downturn, English classes for immigrant adults that are affordable had long waiting lists in many communities (including my own community of the greater Washington area). Those lists are likely to get longer as school district ...


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