About a month ago, I was admiring the persistence of Foch "Tut" Pensis, the Superintendent of the Coachella Valley Unified School District in California, in fighting aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act that he believes to be unfair for English-language learners. Well, on May 9, Coachella Valley and eight other school districts filed an appeal in a California state court contending that a judge from the San Francisco Superior Court was wrong in ruling a year ago that the court didn't have the authority to tell the state how to comply with NCLB regarding the testing of English-learners. ...


The Corpus Christi Independent School District in Texas is using a $25,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation to buy 50 iPods to use with English-language learners, according to a May 9 article published by a local Texas media outlet, the Caller-Times. (I saw the article first at TESOL in the News). I called AT&T today to see what kind of grant money might be available for technology at other school districts. Dan Feldstein, a spokesman working out of Houston for AT&T, told me that the $25,000 that paid for the iPods in Corpus Christi was ...


The Des Moines Register broke a story yesterday about how, prior to a raid by federal immigration authorities on a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, on Monday, the Postville Community School District was given a subpoena to turn over detailed information about students to the Iowa Division of Labor Services. The subpoena included a mandate to provide the names of students working at two apartment buildings that had been owned by a Postville school guidance counselor and sold to the CEO of Agriprocessors Inc., the same company that owns the plant that was raided this week. I was curious if ...


California's draft preschool standards for English-language learners that I wrote about back in November have been approved by the state's superintendent of public instruction, and all state-funded preschool programs are expected to abide by them by 2011-12. By that school year, the test that California educators use to assess preschoolers' skills is expected to be aligned with the standards. California officials call the standards for preschoolers "foundations." The foundations spell out what children ages 3 to 5 should know and be able to do. The foundations in English-language development, which start on page 103 of the 205-page standards document, lay ...


I learned a lot about challenges states face in tracking the progress of ELLs in English by reading the U.S. Department of Education's "interpretation" of some of the No Child Left Behind Act's provisions for such students. It was published in the Federal Register on May 2, and I wrote about its possible implications in an article, "Consistent ELL Guides Proposed," published Friday at edweek.org. One challenge I didn't write much about in the EdWeek article is that states are struggling to report the progress in English of ELLs who haven't taken their state's English-language-proficiency test for two ...


What kind of impact have anti-bilingual-education ballot measures had in Arizona, California, and Massachusetts? The directors of the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Linguistic Minority Research Institute at UC-Santa Barbara, decided to commission research and hold a conference to explore that question. Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley businessman, financed the campaigns that advocated the passage of anti-bilingual initiatives in all three states so they are nicknamed the "Unz initiatives." I attended the conference in Sacramento, Calif., last week—hence the light posting on this blog recently—and wrote about how the researchers...


The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund came out with a report this month that calls for the No Child Left Behind Act to require a breakout of test scores according to the ethnicity of Asian students. The report also calls for the federal law to support the expansion of native-language testing. Read my colleague David Hoff's article about the report, published yesterday at edweek.org. He notes that while the group is advocating for the federal education law to require states to collect and report more comprehensive information about Asian-Americans, it isn't recommending that schools and school districts ...


I'm hearing a lot of talk lately about the need for teachers to be trained to work with English-language learners. Only a few states require all teachers to receive such training, so it wasn't surprising that in a recent audit by the Kansas legislature of second- and third-year teachers in that state, 60 percent of teachers who have taught ELLs in their first few years of teaching (and responded to a survey) said they didn't feel adequately prepared to do so. The Kansas survey also found that teachers who graduated from academic programs that stress hands-on experience in creating lesson ...


Timothy Hogan, the lawyer for plaintiffs in the long-running Flores v. Arizona court case concerning ELLs, filed a motion in the U.S. District Court in Tucson last Friday, asking the federal court to stop implementation of the state's mandates for school districts to establish a new kind of program for ELLs this coming school year because the mandates aren't adequately funded, according to a May 2 Associated Press article. Meanwhile, Tom Horne, the state's superintendent of public instruction, is quoted as saying that Mr. Hogan doesn't care about ELLs because he's trying to halt implementation of the new programs ...


Friday's Federal Register contains a proposed "interpretation" of the No Child Left Behind Act that, if put into effect, will require states to make some big changes in their policies regarding English-language learners. One of the biggest changes that I see is that states will have to use the same criteria for deciding when English-language learners exit from programs as they use to determine if students have attained proficiency in English for reporting purposes under accountability provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. Now, states set criteria for what it means for students to attain proficiency in the language ...


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