The Washington Post reports some good news today in the world of English-language learners. The article says that 91 of the 98 ELLs at Highland Elementary School in Montgomery County, Md.--a school now tapped for a coveted educational honor--passed the state's reading test this year. The school is one of six recently nominated by the Maryland State Department of Education for the U.S. Department of Education's "blue ribbon" schools program. Also, the Post reported today that the Maryland State Board of Education has approved a policy that enables some seniors at risk of not graduating, including English-language learners, ...


Though language-minority students scored lower on a 1st grade math assessment than students who speak primarily English at home, the two groups of students made the same gains in math between 1st and 5th grades, according to a study released this week by the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education. Language-minority students are children who speak a language other than English at home. The study also found that two different subgroups of language-minority students—those who are proficient in English and those who are still English-language learners—also made the same gains in math ...


The Center for American Progress is promoting expanded learning time for English-language learners with a report that features several case studies of schools that have extended the school day or year. "It's common sense" that extra learning time can be particularly beneficial for ELLs because they "have more to learn in less time," Melissa Lazarin, the associate director of education policy for the Center, said at a forum held yesterday to release the report, "A Race Against the Clock: The Value of Expanded Learning Time for English Language Learners." The forum highlighted an interesting effort in Massachusetts that has expanded ...


I have only one clue to offer about what kind of policies Arne Duncan, who has been nominated as the secretary of education for President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet, might favor for English-language learners. As the superintendent of Chicago Public Schools, he has argued that English-language learners should have a separate test other than the state's regular reading and math tests for ELLs. In the 2007-08 school year, the U.S. Department of Education required Illinois to drop use of a plain English test for ELLs, called the the Illinois Measure of Annual Growth in English, or IMAGE, for calculating adequate ...


One place to start in determining if an English-language learner has barriers to learning other than a language barrier is to make sure he or she has normal hearing and vision. That's one practical piece of advice that Caroline Linse, a senior lecturer at Queen's University, Belfast, in Northern Ireland, provides in her article, "Language Issue or Learning Disability?," published in the December issue of Essential Teacher. While the magazine makes some articles available for free, this particular article is available only to members of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc., which publishes Essential Teacher. Ms. Linse ...


Teachers can help English-language learners at the pre-K level by using gestures, speaking slowly, repeating information, encouraging peer interactions, and anticipating words that will be hard and providing explanations. This is some of the information contained in two sidebars about English-language learners that appear in a report, "Preschool Curriculum: What's In It for Children and Teachers?," released this week by the Albert Shanker Institute of the American Federation of Teachers....


Yesterday, in a Webinar intended to clarify guidance on the "supplement-not-supplant" provision of Title III, U.S. Department of Education staff relayed four questions that school districts can use to determine if they are spending Title III funds appropriately. The Oct. 2 guidance for the section of the No Child Left Behind Act that authorizes funds for English-language-acquisition programs reiterates a provision of the law that says funds for English-language learners may not be used to replace money from local, state, or federal sources that would otherwise be used for this group of students. The four questions, in the wording ...


Some schools in Mexico are trying to figure out how to best include children from some migrant families who have returned to their home country because of a lack of work in the United States. Some of the children don't speak Spanish at all or have weak skills in reading and writing Spanish, according to an article published today in the Arizona Republic. The trend could eventually lessen the impact that undocumented immigrants have on hospitals and schools in U.S. border areas, a demographer from the Brookings Institute points out in the article. Says one returning Mexican migrant: "The ...


A teacher/blogger from New York City expresses how she feels about teaching in a school that has been labeled as needing "corrective action" under the No Child Left Behind Act. "I'm proud to have 80 percent ELLs in my class," she writes. "The media always puts down these 'underperforming' schools and it's so sad that my school has been categorized this way." (Hat tip to GothamSchools)...


I'm concluding from my colleague Kathleen Kennedy Manzo's article, "Puerto Rico Attains Low NAEP Scores," published today that educators aren't likely to see really strong math skills among many English-language learners moving from Puerto Rico to the mainland United States. The article says that students on the island struggled to answer most of the questions on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in math, administered in 2007. The students took the test in Spanish. Ms. Manzo notes that some education officials in Puerto Rico have written a letter to the U.S. Department of Education arguing that problems with the ...


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