Ruben Navarrette, an editorial writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune, writes about how it's a recurring pattern in this country that some Americans periodically appoint themselves as language police and push for shortsighted policies. He touches on the controversy sparked by school officials in Terrebonne Parish, La., who started thinking of requiring commencement speeches to be only in English after Cindy and Hue Vo, co-valedictorians at Ellender High School, spoke a few sentences of Vietnamese during their commencement addresses. (See my earlier post, "What's Next? English-Only Commencement Speeches?") Two Asian-American groups, by the way, sent out a joint press release ...


Money from California tobacco tax revenues is paying for literacy coaches to make home visits in Orange County and encourage Spanish-speaking parents to get their toddlers interested in books. That's one of a couple of efforts I've come across recently that show public officials may be paying more attention to the preparation for school of children who are English-language learners. See "HABLA program builds on idea: More words make better readers," published July 2 in The Orange County Register. (Hat tip to TESOL in the News.) The HABLA program will nearly double this year as part of a research study ...


Michael Erard suggests in Wired Magazine that the version of English that many Chinese speak, and that visitors to Beijing might hear during the summer Olympics, could have some advantages over the standard version that you and I may speak. He writes: "...it's possible Chinglish will be more efficient than our version, doing away with word endings and the articles a, an, and the. After all, if you can figure out 'Environmental sanitation needs your conserve,' maybe conservation isn't so necessary." Anyway, I like this article because it contains a fresh perspective on how some versions of English serve ...


Eduwonk weighs in on the issue of access to higher education for undocumented students in the United States, suggesting that the nation should provide a fast track to citizenship for promising students who are immigrants in the same way that the military does for immigrants. A path to citizenship would certainly take away some of the anxiety experienced by undocumented students described in this Los Angeles Times article, which was published today. (Hat tip to ImmigrationProf Blog.) Meanwhile, at the annual convention of the National Education Association, which my colleague Vaishali Honawar blogged about, delegates voted for the organization to ...


I interviewed a few Muslim teenagers from the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia recently who had participated last school year in the Youth Exchange and Study program run by the U.S. Department of State. They told me they had adjusted some of their perceptions of Americans, such as that they party all the time, and also helped to expand Americans' knowledge about their home countries and cultures. This year marks the fifth year of the program, established by legislation in the U.S. Congress after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 to promote mutual understanding between the ...


Over Independence Day, I'll be camping and checking out the water trails at Jane's Island State Park in Crisfield, Maryland. While out in nature, I aim to be thinking about interdependence (in terms of appreciating and conserving the world's resources) as well as my country's independence. Until July 8, when I'll be back to blogging again, I leave you with this video from YouTube, produced in solidarity with the goals of an organization fighting global warming, as food for thought. (Please ignore the typo in the video's title.)...


"This Strange Thing Called Prom" is a beautifully written tale published in The New York Times about how a group of seniors at the International High School at Prospect Heights (in Brooklyn) carry out their version of an American prom. (Hat tip to This Week in Education.) The students of the school are all immigrants, and I love how the writer portrays the tension between the students' appreciating where they come from, yet wanting to embrace an idea that is part of American culture. Though I'm an American who was born and raised in the United States, I actually never ...


The Flypaper has decided to join Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne and conservative talk show hosts in condemning the teaching of Mexican-American/Raza Studies in Tucson Unified School District in Arizona. The blog points to a commentary by a teacher who taught a U.S. history course with a Mexican-American perspective as part of the Tucson program in the 2002-2003 school year. That teacher felt the curriculum was biased and "engendered racial hostility." Liam Julian at Flypaper points out that teachers who teach the courses with a Mexican-American perspective in Tucson are invited to attend a seminar in ...


To read the story of how Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento got out of "program improvement" under the No Child Left Behind Act from two of the educators who were involved, check out "The Positive Impact of English Language Learners at an Urban School," published recently in Language Magazine (for the edited article, you'll have to subscribe). More than half of the school's students are English-language learners. In the article, Ted Appel, the principal of Luther Burbank, and Larry Ferlazzo, a social studies and English teacher at the school, say that they try to create life-long learners rather than "teach...


Maryland's governor Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, has recently signed into law a bill that sets up a task force to preserve "heritage-language skills," or the language skills of people exposed to a language other than English at home, according to a June 23 commentary in the Baltimore Sun. Catherine Ingold, the director of the University of Maryland's National Foreign Language Center and author of the piece, explains how this simple step by Maryland's governor is unusual. She contends that the No Child Left Behind Act is one policy that makes it harder to develop skills of heritage speakers because it ...


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