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 ...


Tired parents collapsed on couches resting after a hard day of work are a couple of the images that some immigrant teens from Catalina Magnet High School in Tucson, Ariz., have captured to show what life is like for their families in the United States. Julie Kasper, a teacher at Catalina Magnet High School, organized students in her English-as-a-second-language classes to work with a local documentary photographer, Josh Schachter, to create a photo gallery to tell about their lives outside of school. A June 7 article in Tucson Weekly, "Free but Isolated," tells about the project. The photos were hung ...


I thought it was a no-brainer that teachers of English-language learners should align their instruction and materials with their students' culture, until I investigated what research is available to back this assumption for a Jan. 9 Education Week article. I didn't find any researchers who thought culture-based instruction is a bad idea, but I did talk with some who say the claims of its effectiveness are not YET backed up with empirical evidence from research studies. Those folks are arguing for more research that carefully looks at the impact of culture-based instruction on reading test scores and other student achievement ...


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