Lance T. Izumi and Bruce Fuller provide opposing opinions in the New York Times about presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama's support for bilingual education. Mr. Izumi argues that English immersion works better than bilingual education, citing the success of a single elementary charter school in Los Angeles County. (I've written on this blog before about Mr. Izumi's preference for English-immersion methods.) Mr. Izumi is the senior director of education studies for the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy. Mr. Fuller says bilingual education can work well, if the teachers who carry it out are well-prepared to do so. Mr. Fuller ...


If you have an administrator putting a lot of pressure on you because he or she thinks your school will miss meeting adequate yearly progress goals because of low test scores among English-language learners, you might want to read a big-picture article that Education Week published this week about the No Child Left Behind Act. The article describes a study that examines how likely it is that California schools will have all students meet "proficiency" by the 2013-14 school year. The answer: not likely. Here's what Education Week reporters Sean Cavanagh and David J. Hoff wrote: Using statistical-modeling techniques, the ...


The Boston Globe published a story this week, "English Period," about how an elementary school in Framingham, Mass., has carried on with bilingual education, though voters passed an initiative back in 2002 to curtail the educational method. Under the 2002 law, educators in Massachusetts must place students in English-only classes for 30 days before they can move them to bilingual education. In addition, they must get waivers from parents of the English-immersion approach, the default method, to place any students in bilingual education. The article spells out what impact this has on the students in the program. It quotes Ron ...


Back from reporting on ELLs in New York City, I've returned to my cubicle (and computer) to find GothamSchools noting that only three New York state legislators showed up at a state assembly roundtable about the educational needs of English-language learners. The blog item features the declining graduation rates for ELLs in New York state and New York City, which I've also talked about here at Learning the Language. Also, Aubrey Krekeler, over at the Rural Blog, points out that presidential candidates Senators Barack Obama and John McCain aren't talking about issues affecting rural schools, including the presence of ELLs ...


I'm heading up to the Big Apple to report on (guess what?) English-language learners. I won't be back to blogging again until Friday....


A consortium of states is creating a test for English-language learners that will be the first of its kind, and the effort just got a boost of about $1 million from the U.S. Department of Education. That grant of a little more than $1 million is part of the $7.5 million in grants for test development that U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced last Friday. The new test will be the first English-language-proficiency test designed for English-language learners who have severe disabilities. The test developer is the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium, or WIDA, which ...


I've got to hand it to Larry Ferlazzo, a social studies and English teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, who is seeking Web resources so that he can effectively explain the current financial crisis to his English-language learners. He can't find sites accessible to ELLs, but he's determined to educate himself and make sure his students aren't left out of the loop in learning about economic issues. That's a good attitude for a teacher--not to leave ELLs out of the loop....


The Gadsden Independent School District in New Mexico has joined the growing list of school districts with a policy that ALL new teacher hires must be endorsed to teach English-language learners. An endorsement in TESOL will be required of all teachers hired at the start of the 2013-14 school year. Arizona, California, and Florida have requirements for mainstream teachers to receive training to work with ELLs, but most states do not. A number of school districts have put such requirements in place even if their states don't have them. The Gadsden requirement won't go into effect for a while. But ...


Recently, I reported to you that 45.5 percent of the 49,318 English-language learners in grades 8-12 in New York City are newcomers. The school district calls ELLs "newcomers" if they have been receiving ELL services for less than three years. The statistic is important because it indicates that the city receives, in the upper grades, a significant number of students who likely are starting with little or no English. I promised to give a fuller picture and get the data for ELLs in grades K-7 as well. This morning, the New York City Department of Education provided it. ...


One in three children in Nevada under age 18 has an immigrant parent, according to a report released today by the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute. The report, "Gambling on the Future: Managing the Education Challenges of Rapid Growth in Nevada," urges Nevada to provide more support for English-language learners in schools. From 2000 to 2006, the state's immigrant population increased 50 percent, which the report characterizes as "demographic exceptionalism." From 1994 to 2006, Nevada's ELL enrollment grew by 208 percent, compared with an increase of 61 percent nationwide. While Nevada's schools receive some federal funds to serve ELLs, the report ...


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