Utah's state board of education is asking for funding to strengthen the teaching of indigenous languages in schools serving Native American children, according to this Deseret News article. Proponents of the plan, which would affect the San Juan and Uintah school districts, say that helping students become proficient in their native languages would help to improve their English reading achievement as well. The article points to data from a pilot program in the San Juan district. There are some interesting comments from readers weighing in on whether the plan would be a good use of scarce education dollars....


1. A new book, published by the National Science Teachers Association Press, uses a combination of research, classroom case studies, and teacher perspectives to explore teaching science to English-language learners. The book focuses on several key questions, including whether students can learn science before they are proficient in English, if and how a student’s cultural background can support and extend science learning, and how to support the development of scientific vocabulary. Teaching Science to English Language Learners: Building on Students’ Strengths focuses on elementary- and middle school-level instruction. NSTA makes a sample chapter available on its website. 2. At ...


Students are being asked not to speak Spanish on their bus ride in the 68-student Esmeralda County School District in Nevada--and decision has prompted an outcry and concern about its legality. A letter from superintendent Robert Aumaugher specifically targets a small group of about a dozen Hispanic students who are bused to the neighboring Nye County. In an article in the Pahrump Valley Times, Aumaugher said "I see no reason why the Hispanic population can't be doctors and lawyers and everything else. But to do that they're going to need to make sacrifices." According to the article, Aumaugher was motivated ...


Schools should be taking steps to get parents of English-language learners involved in their children's education despite the significant challenges, says a new policy brief from the researchers at Arizona State University. Doing so will help ELL students overcome the isolation many feel and give non-English speaking parents tools to help their children succeed in school. The paper, "Promoting ELL Parental Involvement: Challenges in Contested Times," describes programs that have bridged the language and cultural issues that often prevent schools and parents of ELL children from working together. "It is very important to identify practices that may improve ELL parental ...


The Arizona School Administrators Association says the state's school districts will need at least $300 million more to implement a 2006 law requiring a four-hour instructional period for English-language learners, according to this Associated Press story. State officials dispute the figure, saying it is too high. But districts are getting ready to submit their cost estimates within the coming weeks. A survey by the association of 64 districts shows that the $56 million in state funding for the program will not meet the need for additional teachers, curriculum, and professional development, the story indicates. State budget proposals do not include ...


An interesting back-and-forth at the Daily Herald in Carpentersville, Ill., questions the fairness of English language classes in that suburban Chicago city. The Nov. 30 article highlights Sharon Fetting's suggestion that native English-speaking children should receive foreign language instruction, just like English-language learners. At a November school board meeting, Fetting proposed that English-speaking students should receive Spanish-language instruction. The Daily Herald columnist, Jameel Naqvi, writes: I also take issue with what seems to be Fetting's suggestion: that is, that the district has an equal obligation to teach English to kids from non-English homes and to teach Spanish or any other ...


Aboriginal languages in Canada continue to decline, according to data released by Statistics Canada this week and discussed in this Canadian Press article . While there are some exceptions, fewer people who identify themselves as aboriginal said they could speak their ancestral tongue. The article also highlights attempts to develop aboriginal languages in classrooms. In the United States, the 1,112-student Harbor Public School District in Michigan began offering a Native American language course for the first time this fall, according to a Jan. 15th article in the Petoskey News-Review. The grant-supported Anishinaabemowin class is offered in collaboration with the Little ...


The Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington has released a second edition of its book, Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education. The 124-page text provides a framework developed for New Mexico dual-language programs and adapted by a national panel of experts. The principles, categorized into 7 strands, reflect academic standards and requirements under No Child Left Behind, as well as research findings. "By helping English language learners and native English speakers achieve high standards in English and another language, dual language programs can be an effective tool for schools and districts seeking to achieve NCLB goals," the authors write in ...


Tomorrow I leave Washington for a one-month journey through the Middle East. For half of the time—in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan—I'll be reporting for Education Week. For the other half, I'll be taking a vacation in Egypt, which includes visiting an aunt and uncle who have lived in Cairo for several years. (My uncle is director of the Narmer American College, a private K-12 school in the outskirts of Cairo, and my aunt teaches kindergarten at the same school.) I'll be filing Web stories from Dubai and Amman. You'll find them on the home page of ...


The Delavan-Darien public schools in Wisconsin are shifting their approach to teaching English-language learners. Rather than having teachers pull English-language learners out of mainstream classes to help them with English, as had been the practice until recently, the district is supporting collaboration between regular teachers and English-as-a-second-language teachers in the children's regular classes, according to a Jan. 2 article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Schools across the state are embracing a more inclusive approach for ELLs, according to an official from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction quoted in the article. I saw some of the benefits of this approach when ...


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