Texas State Rep. Roberto Alonzo's call for the legislature to form a task force to respond to U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice's July 25 ruling on programs for English-language learners seems wise, though let me be clear that I'm not taking a stand in this blog on the ruling itself. Mr. Alonzo wrote yesterday in the Rio Grande Guardian (hat tip to Educational Equity, Politics & Policy in Texas) that members of the Texas legislature must "be well-prepared, educated on the issue, and well-versed on the statistical data to help support and keep Judge Justice's decision intact." Being educated ...


Mirriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's English Dictionary, intended for, you guessed it, English-language learners, is scheduled to hit bookstores in September, according to a July 14 article in Publishers Weekly that someone just slipped into my mailbox. The article makes the case that the English-as-a-second-language market is "massive," estimating that one billion people around the world are engaged in learning English. John Morse, the president and publisher of Merriam-Webster, is quoted as saying his company decided to publish the dictionary because the domestic and international markets for dictionaries targeted at ELLs has grown substantially. He adds that the preference of such learners ...


Migrant advocates had hoped that the federal government would wait until reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act before coming out with new regulations for the federal migrant education program. No such luck. New regulations were published in the Federal Register on July 29. See my article, "Stiffer Rules Issued on Migrant Education Program," about the regs published at edweek.org. Last summer I wrote about migrant students in Pennsylvania and learned that the federal migrant education program, which now serves about half a million students, sure does have a lot of rules....


Texas officials say the state will likely appeal the ruling issued by a federal court on July 25 that programs for ELLs in grades 7-12 in the Lone Star State must be revamped. But in the meantime, I'm thinking that state officials will still be on the lookout for approaches that work with ELLs in middle and high schools. While I was reporting my story about the ruling, "Federal Court Ruling Prods Texas on ELLs," published at edweek.org yesterday, Deborah Short, a researcher for the Washington-based Center for Applied Linguistics, told me she can't think of any particular school ...


Permit me to present the findings of a study on states' policies for testing ELLs by the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, & Student Testing in a test format to emphasize how, these days, issues of assessing ELLs often seem to overshadow other issues regarding these students. Answers to my test can be found in the executive summary (click on the second bullet here) for a report released yesterday by the center, "Recommendations for Assessing English Language Learners," and two companion reports released previously. The answers are also listed at the bottom of this blog entry. Warning: A validation ...


A federal judge has given Texas until the end of January to improve programs for English-language learners at the secondary school level, according to an Associated Press article published on Saturday. The Dallas Morning News also covered the story. U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice said the state's monitoring of ELL programs is "fatally flawed." (Yes, it's the same judge that ruled in 1982 in the U.S. Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe that undocumented students had the right to a free K-12 education.) I'm wading through the 95-page decision (click here) to write my own article for ...


The League of United Latin American Citizens, which calls itself the nation's oldest and largest Hispanic organization, is not buying into the U.S. Department of Education's rationale for merging the administration of Title III and Title l of the No Child Left Behind Act. Federal officials have said that moving the administration of Title III—the main conduit of funding under NCLB for English-language learners—to the Education Department's office of elementary and secondary education will lead to better coordination between the two programs. The reorganization will be effective in the fall. On July 11, LULAC passed a resolution...


Federal officials have told North Carolina officials that it's up to states to decide if they want to enroll undocumented students in public colleges and universities, according to the Associated Press. That message paves the way for North Carolina's community college system to reverse a policy announced in May that barred undocumented students from community colleges. The article doesn't say, though, if this is the step the system will take. (July 29 update: The policy will be reviewed at a Aug. 15 meeting, according to an AP article posted here.) The North Carolina Attorney General's office said in a letter ...


New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Rep. Michael M. Honda, a fellow Democrat from California, announced yesterday they were introducing a bill in Congress intended to boost opportunities for immigrants to learn English. The bill contains a couple of provisions that could benefit school-age English-language learners. It increases funding for the U.S. Department of Education's Even Start Family Literacy program, for instance, and proposes a $1,500 tax credit for teachers of English-language learners (I surmise this means specialists, not any mainstream teacher who has a few ELLs in her class) and a deduction for certification. ...


I've been intending to report the story for several years, but only this summer I finally wrote an article about how many school districts now offer summer classes for English-language learners to help them prevent "summer slide" in their English skills. My article, "Summer Classes a Draw for English-Learners," based on a visit to summer English-as-a-second-language classes at Loudoun County, Va., schools, was published yesterday at edweek.org. It turns out that a lot of other newspaper reporters had the same idea this summer to visit and write about ESL classes. Here's a round-up of such stories, which will permit ...


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