In another act of the drama in Arizona regarding how the state will adequately pay for the education of English-language learners, the Arizona House has approved a bill to increase spending for such students by $40 million next year. See "House OKs English-language instruction," published today in the Arizona Republic. The Arizona Senate is expected to vote on the bill today. The bill is legislators' latest effort to respond to a federal court mandate in Flores v. Arizona to provide sufficient funds for ELLs in the state. See "Arizona Still Grappling With Order on Adequate Funding for ELLs" for my ...


The actress and refugee advocate Angelina Jolie was in town yesterday to call for more support for the education of Iraqi children. She said that the United States and international community need to make it a higher priority to ensure that Iraqi children and children in other war-torn countries get an education. See "Angelina Jolie Highlights Iraqi Students' Plight," which was posted today at www.edweek.org. Ms. Jolie also cited some recent figures for the rate that the United States is accepting Iraqi refugees and urged the U.S. to pick up the pace of admitting people who have ...


I'm not much of a T.V. watcher, so I haven't tuned into a series about immigration that CBS News began Monday. ImmigrationProf Blog has the synopsis. CBS News has also posted a couple of stories related to the series, here and here. But I destroyed several tissues watching the film Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna) last weekend about a 9-year-old Mexican boy's illegal crossing of the U.S.-Mexico border and search for his mother. The angst that the mother and child felt because of their separation really struck an emotional chord with me. (I found the ...


This Week in Education and Detentionslip.org have picked up on an April 7 story that says school cafeteria workers in Seminole County, Fla., were told they can't speak Spanish on the job. I've written for Education Week about incidents where students were told they couldn't speak Spanish in certain school settings. In all the cases I've heard about, school administrators have backed down on their stance after Hispanic advocacy or other groups contended that a ban on students' native language is discrimination. I'll keep an eye on whether the school administrators in Seminole County will do the same....


Panelists and participants at the annual meeting of TESOL in New York City last week had more questions than answers on how to meet the needs of long-term English-language learners. Kate Menken, an assistant professor of linguistics at Queens College of the City University of New York, noted at a session on high school reform that most programs serve the first of three groups of English-language learners that she's identified, newly arrived immigrants. But services are also needed for two other groups: immigrants with interrupted schooling, and long-term ELLs. In fact, she contended, educators "know next to nothing" about long-term ...


A number of states are looking at how to ensure that mainstream teachers who work with English-language learners receive training in how to teach them. Florida requires some of the most extensive English-as-a-second-language training of any state for English-language arts and reading teachers who have ELLs in their classrooms. Some educators think Florida is too demanding in its requirements of reading teachers and are pushing for passage of a bill in the state's legislature to reduce the number of hours required. Others think that the quality of education for ELLs would suffer if the requirements were softened. See "Florida Bill ...


When Maria Estela Brisk, a professor of teacher education at Boston College, observes writing lessons in elementary-school classrooms, it seems to her that children are usually writing personal narratives. She says that, for the sake of English-language learners in those classes (and probably for other students as well, I'm guessing), teachers need to help students experiment with other purposes for writing--and other kinds of texts. "Children have told their story of immigration. They're sick of it," she said during an April 3 session on professional development at the annual conference of TESOL here in New York City, which I'm attending. "They...


Kathleen Leos, who resigned as the director of the U.S. Department of Education's office of English-language acquisition in September, is setting up a new policy institute that will focus on English-language learners. It will be called the International Institute for Language and Literacy Development and will have offices in Dallas and Washington, D.C. She's particularly interested in how English-language learners develop basic language skills—the new organization will have a goal of pushing for the U.S. Congress to establish a commission on this topic, she told me in a phone interview yesterday. Ms. Leos said it will...


Testing experts are creating a pool of test items they hope that some states eventually will use to assess English-language learners in science to comply with the No Child Left Behind Act. Rebecca Kopriva—a visiting research scholar at the University of Wisconsin, Madison—and Jim Bauman—a senior associate in language testing at the Washington-based Center for Applied Linguistics—are directing the project, called Obtaining Necessary Parity Through Academic Rigor, or ONPAR. It is being funded with a $1.8 million "enhanced assessment grant" from the U.S. Department of Education. The researchers have begun to write the test items,...


Read "Struggling Asians go unnoticed," published today in the Chicago Tribune, to learn more about how and why educators may not give as much attention to Asian students who struggle with English or other subjects than students from other regions of the world. For more on this topic, see "The 'Other' Gap," which my colleague Lesli Maxwell wrote for Education Week in February 2007....


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