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 ...


The World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment consortium, or WIDA, has received a three-year, $1.6 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to create a formative assessment system for teachers of English-language learners at the secondary school level. The grant award comes less than a month after WIDA received a $1 million award from the U.S. Department of Education to create an English-language-proficiency test for ELLs with severe disabilities. Timothy Boals, the executive director of WIDA, told me in a telephone interview that the new assessment system will be based on WIDA's English-language-proficiency standards. Those standards, and ...


Mike Petrilli over at Flypaper and Michele McNeil, a writer for EdWeek's Campaign K-12, who sits a row of office cubicles away from me, have been blogging about the extent to which the Barack Obama campaign favors portfolio testing. Update on Oct. 22: The topic of portfolio tests also came up at last night's debate between education advisers for the campaigns of Sen. Obama and Sen. John McCain. Let me jump in to the discussion and note that whether the presidential candidates are open to portfolio tests is of interest to educators of ELLs, many of whom would like to ...


At the LEP Partnership meeting last week, several U.S. Department of Education officials spelled out for state education officials what federal Title III funds cannot be spent on. But I came away wondering what the funds CAN be spent on. Title III is the part of the No Child Left Behind Act that authorizes funds for English-language-acquisition programs. I had asked the Education Department's panelists at the session if they could name some examples of what the money may be spent on. One of them named professional development for teachers. That was it. But this week, Education Department officials ...


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