State education officials received an e-mail message from the U.S. Department of Education last week announcing that the administration of Title III—the main conduit for the funding of ELL programs under the No Child Left Behind Act—will soon be carried out by the same office that administers Title I. Title III has been handled by the office of English-language acquisition, while Title I, which provides funds for disadvantaged students and also contains some provisions applying specifically to English-language learners, is administered by the office of elementary and secondary education. Richard L. Smith, the acting director of the office...


North Carolina has become the 18th state to adopt an English-language-proficiency test for English-learners developed by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment, or WIDA, consortium. Yet another state has also joined the WIDA consortium and thus adopted the test, but Timothy Boals, the executive director of WIDA, is not yet announcing which state that is. Given the independence of states on education matters, it's quite remarkable that 19 states will soon be using the same test for English proficiency. While I respect the rights of states to choose their own test, it sure would make it easier to understand and ...


New Jersey recently began providing some state tests for English-language learners in Spanish, and thus joined a dozen states that provide versions of their state tests in languages other than English. In addition, Washington state has set a tentative goal of translating state tests into 10 languages by 2009. The 2008 Washington state legislature has approved $1.7 million for translating state tests and expanding forms designed for special education students. This year state officials conducted a pilot study on the use of test translations. I got this information about New Jersey and Washington from communications staff for departments of ...


I've seen news accounts recently that a teacher, a high school valedictorian, and a Boy Scout were all expecting to be deported this summer—as they'd exhausted legal options to stay in this country. A June 10 story in the Loudoun Times-Mirror about the Boy Scout answers some of the lingering questions I've had since visiting an immigration detention center in Miami about what happens to some of the unaccompanied minors who get picked up by federal immigration authorities, held in detention, and then released to their parents in the United States. In this case, the boy who crossed the ...


It may not be evident, if you live in a community that is a popular location for refugee resettlement, but compared with the 1980s and 1990s, the United States has not received a lot of refugees in the first decade of the 21st century. Admission rates to the United States decreased after stricter security measures were put in place in 2002, in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to Michael Fix, the vice president and director of studies at the Migration Policy Institute. I asked Mr. Fix to analyze patterns in the numbers of refugees admitted ...


I couldn't help noticing that the impact on children of a program in Spain that legalized 600,000 African, Latin American, and eastern European workers, which is the subject of an article published today in The New York Times, contrasts sharply with the effects on children in the United States of their parents' detention described in a June 8 article in the Los Angeles Times. I'm wondering: Are policymakers in the United States thinking about what kind of society we want to be in the long run? Enough said....


Research shows that bilingual reading instruction helps English-language learners to read in English, but it isn't conclusive in telling educators how long students should receive such instruction, according to Claude Goldenberg, an education professor at Stanford University, who has written an article about research on ELLs soon to be published in the American Educator. That's the magazine of the American Federation of Teachers. In "Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does—and Does Not—Say," Mr. Goldenberg explains (for the most part, in plain English) what guidance can and can't be gleaned from research on ELLs. He bases his...


The Dallas Morning News is running a thoughtful, five-part series based on observations by reporters of older immigrant teens at Adamson High School in Dallas. (The story I posted yesterday about the Mexico-U.S. connection was part of that same series.) "Their first year is always the hardest," says one of the reporters in an overview video."They feel homesick and struggle with the allure to quit and go to work. Then there is the language barrier. ..." Does this sound familiar? I'd like to hear from readers some of the ways that educators can convince immigrant students who arrive in ...


"Education a challenge in small Mexican community with strong ties to Dallas," an article that ran in The Dallas Morning News today, provides rich insight into the connections between the Mexican and U.S. education systems. The article tells how students literally move back and forth between the town of Ocampo in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, and Dallas. Some of the Dallas teachers see the Mexican children as lagging behind their U.S. peers academically. The Mexican teachers see that some of the students who have been to school in Dallas and then moved back to Ocampo have picked ...


The Economist marks the 10-year anniversary of Proposition 227, a ballot measure approved by voters in California that curtailed bilingual education, with a June 5 article reported from Santa Ana, Calif. "Before 1998 many poor immigrant children in California received a dismal education informed by wrong-headed principles," the article says. "They now just suffer from a dismal education." But, in my view, the examples that are given in the article about how English-learners received a poor-quality education when bilingual education was the default method in California have more to do with implementation of the method than its "principles." For example, ...


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