I haven't yet played the video game, "ICED: I Can End Deportation," launched yesterday, but I've read enough about it that I can tell it's not promoting the official line from U.S. immigration authorities. It seems to me like a game that would motivate a lot of American teenagers to learn more about immigration, but it has the kind of content that some school officials might be skittish about. The game is produced by Breakthrough, an international human rights organization that has offices in both New York City and New Delhi, India. In the game, players take on the ...


Having just returned from reporting in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan for Education Week and exploring Egypt (on vacation), I'm particularly interested in an article just published in Childhood Education that guides teachers in selecting children's literature about the Arab world. The authors of the article, "Celebrating diversity through explorations of Arab children's literature," are Tami Al-Hazza, an assistant professor, and Bob Lucking, a professor at the Darden College of Education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. The authors observe that these days, "Arab extremists or Muslim fundamentalists bent on destroying the world populate contemporary films," and Arabs ...


Mexico and Illinois are working out details for a new program intended to take much of the burden of recruiting international teachers who are bilingual in Spanish and English off of individual school districts. The program was announced this week during Mexican President Felipe Calderon's visit to Chicago, according to "Mexico, Illinois join to supply bilingual teachers," which was published yesterday in the Daily Herald. See "New Mexico Joins California in Looking South for Teachers," an article I wrote for Education Week in November 2004 about how New Mexico and California had signed agreements with Mexico to encourage teachers from ...


This is my first day back in the office after spending one month in the Middle East. My visit included 10 days of reporting in Jordan on the schooling opportunities for Iraqi refugee children in that country. There's a possibility that some of the children I interviewed—or children with similar stories—could end up in your school systems. With the reporting and Arabic-English interpreting assistance of Yasmine Mousa, I've already filed several dispatches from Amman for the Web about Iraqis' interrupted schooling. See "Jordan Opens Schools to Iraqis, But Not All Come," "Leaving Violence Behind, 5th Grader Returns ...


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 ...


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