An on-going goal I have for reporting on English-language learners here at Education Week is to get into classrooms as often as possible. Though I work for a newspaper about education, you'd be surprised how many weeks can go by—while I'm writing about proposals for reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act or explaining state policy changes concerning testing ELLs—that I don't set foot inside a classroom. Thus it was a pleasure to spend a day at Brooklyn International High School this fall trying to understand how teachers there provide instruction to ELLs of all different proficiency levels ...


An article published today in The Arizona Republic, "Money at heart of English-learning fight," gives an update to the long-standing controversy and court case in Arizona regarding how much the state must pay to educate its English-language learners. Republican legislative leaders in the state have appealed a U.S. district judge's ruling in Flores v. Arizona that the state legislature's plan for funding programs for ELLs doesn't meet federal law. (You can find my most recent posts on the court case here and here.) The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is expected to begin a hearing on ...


Whether Latinos in the United States are learning English quickly or not seems to be somewhat in the eye of the beholder. The Pew Hispanic Center reported last week that 88 percent of second-generation Latinos surveyed report they speak English very well. In their executive summary of the report, "English Usage Among Hispanics in the United States," the authors translated the 88 percent statistic into the following statement: "Nearly all Hispanic adults born in the United States of immigrant parents report they are fluent in English." But Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which ...


Some Arizona school district officials are trying to figure out how English-language learners can take in four hours of English instruction each day, as a new state law requires, while also making sure they receive instruction in core subjects, such as social studies and science, according to a Nov. 26 article in the East Valley Tribune. The reporter who wrote the article, Andrea Natekar, stated simply: "A task force, consisting of university faculty, school administrators and others—the chair an economist—met for more than a year, and came up with a research-based approach to learning English." When I read that...


"Citizenship Requirements" is a field of entry in the latest directory of college scholarships for "America's Latino students," published by the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute. For each listing of a scholarship organization, the directory says whether being a U.S. citizen (or legal resident, in some cases) is a criterion for eligibility. Quite a few private scholarship programs have no requirements in this regard (publicly funded programs are another story). Getting a copy of the directory in the mail reminded me that the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or "DREAM Act," was introduced but did not proceed ...


Over at TESOL in the News, I came across a courageous attempt by a reporter to explain what educators mean by reclassification rates for English-language learners. This is the rate that children are reclassified from being English-language learners to being fluent in English each year. Often, when I ask superintendents or state officials what their reclassification rates were for the previous year, they tell me "I can get that," which I suspect is another way of saying they haven't paid much heed to the statistic. Not so in California. In California, because school districts must report the statistic publicly every ...


About half the states in the nation are using one of four tests created by four consortia since 2002 to meet English-language-proficiency testing requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. A report edited by Jamal Abedi, a professor of education at the University of California, Davis, released today tells a great deal about those tests. Mr. Abedi says they are a big improvement over tests typically used prior to NCLB in that they assess "academic English," the kind of English children need in order to learn subjects in school. (For a Nov. 28 Education Week article about the report, ...


Five Democrats running for U.S. president back bilingual education, and two Republicans running for the position oppose it. That's what the Hispanic Link Weekly Report learned when it posed the following question to the staff of 17 politicians competing in the presidential primaries that begin Jan. 3: "What is your candidate's position, if any, on bilingual education?" Hispanic Link Weekly Report, a national newsletter about Hispanic issues available only by subscription, published a summary of the views of the seven candidates who responded to the survey in its Nov. 26 issue. With permission from Hispanic Link, I post the ...


I don't keep up well on technical products for English-language learners, but Lingro, an "open dictionary" created by a new company—also called Lingro—seems useful for ELLs. The online dictionary was released Nov. 17. The site, lingro.com, which is also the dictionary, lets anyone read a Web page in English and click on a word on that page to get a translation. You enter the Web address for a Web page in a box on lingro.com and the words on the page become clickable. Unlike many online dictionaries, Lingro doesn't translate the entire text. So a student...


In my job of covering news about the education of English-language learners, my first preference is to get out into classrooms and observe students and teachers. My second preference is to attend a conference featuring educators and researchers who are talking about what's new in the field. That's how I get ideas on what classrooms I should visit. My last preference, I decided today, is to try to figure out what happened at a conference about ELLs by browsing the Power Point slides of the presenters. But if you'd like to give it a try, check out the presentations from "Academic...


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