Remember Arthur Mkoyan, the valedictorian at Bullard High School in Fresno, Calif., who was scheduled to be deported after commencement? Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, introduced a private bill in the U.S. Congress that postpones deportation and could lead to permanent residency for the youth and his family. While the bill is pending, a stranger has stepped forward and committed to pay for the 17-year-old's education at the University of California, Davis. She has pledged to pay for tuition and expenses for all four years. (Of course, if he were in living in South Carolina, he wouldn't ...


I find it moving that the U.S. Olympic team has chosen Lopez Lomong, a Sudanese refugee and 1,500-meter track runner, to lead the team in the procession during the Olympics' opening ceremony in Beijing on Friday. (Hat tip to ImmigrationProf Blog.) He's one of the thousands of "Lost Boys" from Sudan—who had been separated from their parents or orphaned in war—and were resettled in the United States starting in 2001. (At the time, I wrote about several Sudanese resettled in Philadelphia). It's amazing that he's become a national star in the United States after having suffered...


I hope you've gotten the message already that although I recognize the benefits for anyone living in this country to learn English, I don't believe English should be valued over anyone's native language or the language of one's heritage. Unfortunately, this country has a history of official discrimination against American Indian languages that contributed greatly to their decline. One of the most damaging policies in this regard was that the federal government forced many Native Americans to attend boarding schools, starting in the 1870s, where they were prohibited from speaking their native languages. Most off-reservation boarding schools were closed in ...


I'd been planning to recommend Three Cups of Tea, about Greg Mortenson's adventures in building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to you for summer reading, but eduwonk beat me to it. Not very wonkish of them, is it, to get into the business of recommending books for summer free time? Anyway, it's the best book I've read that gives insight into the lack of education in rural areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and it's good background knowledge for anyone in this country who has students in their schools from those countries. The book portrays Mr. Mortenson (he's a co-author with ...


Students in the United States have a reputation for lacking knowledge in geography compared with their peers around the world. What about the readers of this blog? Many readers are academics or educators who work with English-language learners in the United States and have more interaction with people born in other countries than do many people in the U.S. You can get a sense for your own skills in geography through the Web site, freepoverty.com. The computer feeds you the names of cities and other places from around the world and it's your job to put each one ...


I'll give you one reason why Massachusetts legislators and educators might want to pay careful attention to an editorial about English-language learners in their state published this morning in the Boston Globe: the lawyers who wrote it were key players in convincing a federal judge to rule last month that Texas has violated federal law by not adequately serving ELLs at the secondary level. The editorial's authors are Roger Rice and Jane Lopez, lawyers for Multicultural Education, Training, and Advocacy, or META, in Somerville, Mass. Along with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, META represented plaintiffs in the ...


The topic of "immigrant integration" has become a buzz phrase here in the nation's capital, but some continue to prefer to use the word "assimilation" instead. Two years ago, President Bush weighed in on the issue of how to help immigrants find a place in American society, putting out an executive order to form a "Task Force on New Americans" within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The goal of establishing such a task force was "to help legal immigrants embrace the common core of American civic culture, learn our common language, and fully become Americans." The task force ...


Everyone else has a blogging carnival, why shouldn't we who write about English-language learners? EFL Classroom 2.0 has hosted this one. One of my blog entries, discussing "push-in" versus "pull-out" ESL, was selected. Thanks to all of you who made that entry much more interesting with your comments....


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 ...


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