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, ...


John Brezinsky, over at ESOL Trend Watch, sponsored by Pearson Longman, spells out what could be the causes for why English-language learners have low test scores. See "Schools Score Low--Cite ESL Students." Also see my earlier blog entry, "Expect to Hear This Story Over and Over and Over Again." I'd like to see more documentation behind some of his conclusions, and I think he's missing one possible "cause" that experts in the field often cite: that the tests ELLs are taking are designed for native-English speakers and are not very good at measuring what second-language learners know and can do. ...


Dallas school superintendent Michael Hinojosa has protected almost all bilingual teachers from recent layoffs, according to the Dallas Morning News (via Colorin colorado). Mr. Hinojosa explains in the article that students' needs required him to keep as many bilingual teachers as possible. It says he has had a role in beefing up bilingual education in Dallas by hiring more bilingual teachers. Keep in mind that bilingual education is required at the elementary school grades in Texas, if school districts enroll at least 20 English-language learners with the same native language at the same grade level. Here's an excerpt from the ...


Hispanics account for more than half of the population growth in the United States since 2000, according to a report, "Latino Settlement in the New Century," released by the Pew Hispanic Center today. The Hispanic growth has been caused more by "natural increase" (births minus deaths) than by international migration, according to the report. The report includes a map of where Hispanics live in the United States broken down to the county level. The map shows the 25 counties in the United States with the most Latinos. In less than a week, I'm headed to one of those counties, Cameron ...


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