I enjoy listening to how bilingual people use language. And if you do as well, I'm recommending to you the work of Oscar Casares, a writer who I learned about while preparing to visit Brownsville, Texas. (Hat tip to skoolboy over at eduwonkette). Mr. Casares, who grew up in Brownsville, is a master in using code-switching in dialogue. Code-switching is what linguists call the switching back and forth between two languages, often mid-sentence, by bilingual speakers when they are talking with people who understand both languages. In 2003, Mr. Casares published Brownsville Stories, and he's working on a novel based ...


State Rep. Leo Berman—a Republican from Tyler, Texas—contends that a law offering in-state tuition rates to undocumented students in Texas violates federal law, according to an Oct. 30 article in the Houston Chronicle. This fall, Rep. Berman asked the state's attorney to issue an opinion on the matter. "I think Representative Berman is simply making mischief," responds Michael Olivas, a University of Houston law professor, to Mr. Berman's actions, according to the article. I first heard of Rep. Berman last year when I reported on the 25th anniversary of Plyler v. Doe, the 1982 U.S. Supreme ...


Oregon newspapers have published a flurry of articles and commentaries analyzing a ballot measure that will be put before voters tomorrow. It's called Measure 58 and, if approved by voters, it will put a limit of two years on bilingual instruction for any English-language learner in the state. It appears that the ballot measure would also put a two-year cap on the amount of time students may receive English-as-a-second-language instruction as well, though that interpretation of the measure has received less attention in the media. Advocates of bilingual education, such as James Crawford, the president of the Washington-based Institute for ...


States' policies for providing testing accommodations to English-language learners are becoming more nuanced, something that experts in the field recommend. GothamSchools reports that the New York Board of Regents has approved a new policy, effective this school year, that permits former English-language learners to receive testing accommodations on the state's regular academic tests for up to two years after they are considered to be proficient in the language. The New York State United Teachers union, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association, reported this news a month ago, but we bloggers are just picking up on ...


When I interviewed Iraqi refugee students and parents in Jordan in February, it seemed unlikely that any Iraqis I met would end up in the United States. At that point, the United States had admitted only 3,040 Iraqi refugees from the war. But one man, Adel Meshaal, whom I interviewed along with his 13-year-old son, telephoned me this month to say that this past July, he and his family were resettled in Oak Park, Mich. I had talked with him and his son at an informal school in Jordan. I remember that Mr. Meshaal told me he'd been in ...


Given that the joining of Title I and Title III under one administrative office of the U.S. Department of Education has already taken place, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. has put aside its objections and put out a joint statement with the National Association of State Title I Directors with recommendations for how the union should work. It's a statement about how the two programs should be coordinated from the federal level down to the classroom. Title III is the section of the No Child Left Behind Act that authorizes funds for English-language acquisition programs. ...


The chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville is leaving the doors of his university open to undocumented students, according to an Oct. 24 article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. He's doing this even though the head of the state's department of higher education wrote in a letter back in May, which the communications director for the department just sent to me, that the state will not pay for the education of such students. In his May letter, Jim Purcell, the director of higher education for Arkansas, told university presidents and chancellors that they had to require a valid ...


A school district in Texas used to have a standard practice of keeping the names of two adults on file who are authorized to pick up a student. Now, after an immigration raid in that district's community, the school system requires each family to keep the names of 10 authorized adults on file. That's an example of how some school administrators have put plans in place to ensure that school children aren't left stranded if their parents are detained by federal immigration authorities. For more information about how educators are planning for the possibility of a local immigration raid, see ...


The Miami Herald published a column by Myriam Marquez over the weekend who opines that it would be a mistake for Florida education officials to reduce the number of training hours that reading teachers who work with English-language learners need to receive on how to teach such students. (Hat tip to HispanicTips.com.) Last year, Gov. Charlie Christ vetoed a bill that sought to decrease the number of training hours for reading teachers to 60 from 300. Florida has educators on both sides of the issue who have been very feisty in making sure their views are heard, which is ...


I'm hosting the last ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival for this year, and the deadline for submissions is November 28th, about a month from now. I'll post the carnival on December 1. Use this easy submission form to submit entries about teaching English as a second language, teaching English as a foreign language, or working with English-language learners in general. The carnival is an opportunity to feature what bloggers think have been their best recent entries in this field. And it helps us learn who is out there writing about language education. In the meantime, if you are a teacher, ...


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