South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, a Republican, signed a bill yesterday that will ban undocumented students from attending, or receiving financial aid to attend, public colleges or universities in the state. This means that South Carolina has joined Arkansas and North Carolina in enacting a law or implementing policies that make it much harder for undocumented students to get a postsecondary education at public institutions. Joel Sawyer, the communications director for the governor, told me over the phone this morning that Mr. Sanford signed the immigration bill primarily because it will require private employers in the state to use a ...


The voices of state education officials are strongly present in the comments that have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Education regarding its proposed "interpretation" of Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act, which was published in the Federal Register on May 2. And many of them don't like one of the proposed requirements in particular: that states be required to use the same criteria to decide if students have attained proficiency in English as they do to determine when students should leave special programs. Education officials and educators in California raised a bigger outcry than ...


I can't say I've noticed that the United States is facing an identity crisis, but some people over at the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation think this is so. They put out a report this week, "E Pluribus Unum," ("From Many, One") that makes the argument that immigrants in the past assimilated into American society more than is the case now. The first statement in the report is: "America is facing an identity crisis." The Milwaukee, Wis.-based Bradley Foundation, by the way, "is devoted to strengthening democratic capitalism and the institutions, principles, and values that sustain and nurture it," ...


The number of blogs focused on the education of English-language learners is slowly growing. You can become familiar with some of them by reading the fifth edition of the bi-monthly ELL/ESL/EFL Blog Carnival, hosted by Larry Ferlazzo over at Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day. And if you know what all those acronyms in the name of the carnival stand for—English-Language Learner/English as a Second Language/English as a Foreign Language—I wager you might find the entries useful. I thought the entry offering a primer on "how to teach speaking" was interesting. I contributed...


A 17-year-old from Armenia who was valedictorian of his high school class this school year is scheduled to be deported because he and his mother haven't been granted political asylum in this country, according to an Associated Press article published today. What I find interesting is that the boy's mother has been seeking asylum in the United States since 1992. Do the math. That's since her son apparently was a year old. That gives me some insight into how slowly the wheels of the immigration system turn. The youth, Arthur Mkoyan, is this year's valedictorian of Fresno's Bullard High School....


Teachers who work with English-language learners in Sacramento, Calif., in St. Paul, Minn., and in other communities with many Hmong immigrants are usually familiar with "story cloths." On a large piece of fabric, the Hmong embroider scenes that tell the stories of their people. I've seen a story cloth in St. Paul, for example, on which the needlework artist had embroidered the planes used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to evacuate some Hmong veterans from Laos during the Vietnam War era, when many Hmong secretly fought on the side of the U.S. military against Communists in Laos. ...


Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif., has clearly helped some English-language learners to progress well academically, but some of the test scores of those students have been a hindrance to the school's ability to meet adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. I write about this in "Hurdles Remain High for English-Learners," which was posted today at edweek.org. It became evident during my visit to the school that the law does not take into account where some students start out academically in their high school career. For instance, about 200 Hmong refugees arrived at ...


The immigration reform bill approved by South Carolina lawmakers last week would, if signed by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, bar undocumented students from attending state colleges and universities. State officials in Arkansas and North Carolina have recently announced policies that will make it much harder for undocumented immigrants to get a higher education in their states. Phil Lenski, a staff attorney for the Senate Judiciary Committee in South Carolina, told me over the phone on Friday that South Carolina legislators have been discussing the possibility of banning undocumented students from state colleges and universities since 2007. The provision contained ...


In the last quarter of a century, the number of school-age children in the United States who speak a language other than English at home—also called language-minority children—increased phenomenally, according to "The Condition of Education 2008," which the U.S. Department of Education released this morning. To be exact, the number of such students grew from 3.8 million to 10.8 million, or from 9 percent to 20 percent of school-age children, from 1979 to 2006. I'm sure that's not a surprise to many of you. But skim the section of the report about language-minority students...


"It's hard to be perceived as 'ordinary' and Muslim at the same time in post-9/11 America," write several teachers in the introduction to a book that relays personal narratives of Muslim high schoolers living in New York City. The book, This is Where I Need to Be: Oral Histories of Muslim Youth in NYC, is a collection of stories based on interviews of Muslim teenagers that were conducted by Muslim youth. It grew out of a research study on Muslim youth in public schools carried out by Louis Cristillo, a research assistant professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. The ...


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