Grand Island, Neb., Greeley, Colo., New Bedford, Mass.--and now Postville, Iowa. These are all communities where school officials have spontaneously had to figure out how to ensure that children didn't go home to empty homes when their parents were arrested in immigration raids. Yesterday, I attending a hearing on Capitol Hill in which a subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee looked at the impact of such raids on children. In an article posted at edweek.org, I report on how Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a Democrat from California, is urging Congress to pass legislation that would put more ...


Ever since I wrote about a school operated by the Miami-Dade school district at a detention center for unaccompanied minors who are immigrants, I've been interested in the quality of education that immigrant children receive while in detention. The alleged lack of adequate schooling for children was part of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in March 2007 against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security concerning the operation of the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, where immigrant families are housed. In a settlement, the federal government agreed to make improvements in education there, ...


Earlier this month I reported on how a legislative audit in Kansas found that many mainstream teachers in that state felt unprepared to teach English-language learners. It seems that teachers of English as a second language or bilingual education in Idaho think their mainstream colleagues aren't well-prepared either to teach ELLs, according to findings from a survey, "Teachers' Perceptions of ELL Education," published in Multicultural Education. (I picked this up from TESOL in the News.) The Kansas audit surveyed mainstream teachers in their second or third year of teaching. By contrast, the Idaho findings, researched by Ellen G. Batt, of ...


North Carolina's system of community colleges is the first statewide system to announce it won't admit undocumented immigrants, even if the students can come up with the money for tuition, according to a May 15 article in the Charlotte Observer, which I found over at hispanictips.com. It's been my experience in talking with school people that undocumented students tend to choose community colleges over other kinds of colleges and universities because they are affordable—and many undocumented students come from low-income families. So it seems North Carolina education officials are closing off one of the most viable options for ...


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...


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