Remember the media circus surrounding Lewiston, Maine, where in 2002, then-Mayor Larry Raymond sent a letter asking Somalis to stop moving to the town because it didn't have a social service infrastructure that could adequately meet their needs? An article in the September American School Board Journal brings us up to date with how educators in Lewiston public schools worked before and after that infamous letter to help Somalis integrate into the community. Today, Lewiston has nearly 3,500 Somalis among its 36,000 residents. At one elementary school featured in the article, the Somalis receive math and English in ...


For the first time, a federal education law requires colleges and universities to do SOMETHING in regard to preparing teachers to work with English-language learners. The bill, signed into law on Aug. 14 by President Bush, requires colleges and universities to set annual goals for increasing the number of teachers for instruction of ELLs and other areas where there are teacher shortages. Here's what the new higher education law (search for the enrolled version of H.R. 4137 on Thomas) says under Title II, Section 206: Each institution of higher education that conducts a traditional teacher preparation program (including programs ...


Don't miss the New York Times story about Henry Cejudo, who won the 121-pound freestyle wrestling final yesterday in the Olympics (hat tip to ImmigrationProf Blog). His mom entered the United States illegally from Mexico and struggled over the years to put food on the table for her seven children. Take note of how, like with Lopez Lomong, the Sudanese refugee who competed for the United States in the 1,500-meter race at the Olympics, educators played a role in helping Mr. Cejudo to become a star. Frank Saenz, Cejudo’s coach at Maryvale High School, was the one who ...


An administrator for Tucson Unified School District defends the Raza studies program in the school district by quoting students who say the program helped save their lives. Augustine F. Romero, the senior director of the district's Mexican American/Raza Studies Department, says in his remarks to the press that the program has helped many students to "transcend the nihilistic state of hopelessness." He mentions that students are taught lessons from history, such as about the role of Emiliano Zapata in the Mexican Revolution, and comparative politics. Excerpts of an interview with Mr. Romero are published today in The Arizona Republic. ...


I've been keeping track of state or city school systems that have been criticized publicly this summer for giving English-language learners short shrift. On the list are Texas, Massachusetts, and Seattle. Today I add New York City. Luis O. Reyes, a former school board member in New York City, forwarded a memo to me that was sent to New York State Education Commissioner Richard Mills by the Coalition for Educational Excellence for English Language Learners, a group of organizations and educators who keep an eye on services for ELLs in New York City. People who signed the memo include Maria ...


Over at Campaign K-12, my colleague Michele McNeil notes that the Democratic National Committee has posted its education policy positions online. The 94-page document contains the following sentences about English-language learners and language learning in general: We will also meet our commitment to special education and to students who are English Language Learners. We support full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. We also support transitional bilingual education and will help limited English proficient students get ahead by supporting and funding English Language Learner classes. We support teaching students second languages, as well as contributing through education to ...


While I was taking a short break from e-mail and work in general, Joanne Jacobs posted the latest education blog carnival. She included a recent blog entry from Learning the Language, "Immigrant Integration, or Assimilation?," which includes several comments from all of you. Thanks for making the entry richer with your remarks. Joanne Jacobs was a pioneer in the education blogging world and is quick to post education news before many other folks—even sometimes in the area of my specialty, English-language learners, which doesn't seem to be on the radar screen of some education bloggers....


North Carolina education officials have decided to continue a policy they put in place in May that bans undocumented students from community colleges in the state. The officials, however, indicated they plan to study the issue and could, once again, change their minds, according to an Associated Press story published on Friday....


I'm taking next week off. I'll be back to blogging again on Aug. 18 and to work on the first issue of Education Week for the new school year. If you've noticed some aspect of educating ELLs that I've overlooked and I really ought to write about this coming school year, drop me a line at [email protected]...


Seattle Public Schools' program for English-language learners is in bad shape, according to an audit by the Council of the Great City Schools released this week. The voluntary audit says the program is "highly fragmented, weakly defined, poorly monitored, and producing very unsatisfactory academic results." See the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Aug. 7 article, which contains a link to the report. The audit was requested by school board members and the system's new superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson, and it gives them credit for wanting to improve the program for ELLs. The Seattle district doesn't track ELLs well, and many ELLs aren't getting any ...


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