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 ...


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 ...


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