With some communities seemingly making up immigration policy as they go these days, I've been reading more news stories about how schools are involved in actions by immigration authorities. I recently tried to answer the question in Education Week: What is a school to do in such situations? The latest incident involves a mother and two sons in Tucson, Ariz., who were deported (technically, they were "voluntarily returned") to their native Mexico after police found one of the sons to possess marijuana at school, according to an Associated Press story published today. The article said the boy's father was being ...


This is a story about how states have been required to do something under federal law, and only NOW are getting a handbook from the federal government on how to do it. The No Child Left Behind Act required states, for the first time, to develop English-proficiency standards and tests and assess English-language learners every year in grades K-12. The English-proficiency testing is an extra layer on top of the requirement that all students, including ELLs, must take mathematics and reading tests in grades 3 to 8 and once in high school. (ELLs are exempted from taking the reading test ...


English-language learners are the subject of the first entries on a Web site, Doing What Works, launched by the U.S. Department of Education today. I've been browsing the site to see what the Education Department, in this case, relying on research from the Institute of Education Sciences, considers to be best practices for teaching ELLs. The entries focus on how to teach ELLs to read, a subject that I learned a bit more about recently in writing about how the Reading First program of the No Child Left Behind Act is working for this group of students. I didn't, ...


Illinois has stopped using an alternative mathematics and reading test for English-language learners because state officials haven’t been able to persuade the U.S. Department of Education that the test is comparable to the state’s regular tests. The Illinois Measure of Annual Growth in English, or IMAGE, uses simplified English to test ELLs in math and reading. Illinois developed the language arts part of the test in 1996 and several years later added the math part. Matthew Vanover, a spokesman for the Illinois board of education, said the state will eventually develop another alternative test for Illinois’ 36,000...


It's less than two days old, so it's difficult to tell yet what a new blog by the Hispanic CREO advocacy group is all about, but I like the title, "Daily Grito." In Spanish, the word "grito" means cry or call to action, and the blog is the organization's "daily call to action on the Latino education crisis," according to the blog's first entry. I wrote about the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, or Hispanic CREO, and its mission to press for school choice for Hispanics when the organization was first launched in October 2003. Education Week also ...


Whenever I write about immigration issues on this blog I get comments from people who feel very strongly about this country's immigration policy—or lack of policy. I read all of your comments and appreciate that so many people are weighing in on these issues. But a couple of the comments—both from people sympathetic to undocumented people and those who feel the federal government should crack down on illegal immigration—have not been civil. Education Week has a policy that we will remove comments that include abusive language or personal attacks. You can click on the policy posted...


I learned this week that the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp this fall commemorating a 1947 federal court case that gave Mexican-American children in some California school districts the right to attend regular public schools rather than segregated schools. The court case was a precursor to the Brown v. Board of Education ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954, which mandated the integration of U.S. schools. Peter Zamora, the regional counsel for the Washington office of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, who seems to appear on panels everywhere these days, mentioned this ...


As a journalist specializing in the education of children from immigrant families, I've come to appreciate any chances I have to learn about the history of education for these children because that history influences what happens today. Thus I paid close attention to a presentation about the long-term impact of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1974 ruling in Lau v. Nichols, at the annual summit on ELLs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education this week. The highest court in the land ruled in that civil rights court case that San Francisco schools had to provide Chinese children with ...


Schools and social service agencies in communities with a lot of immigrants should create plans for how to respond if federal immigration authorities conduct workplace raids, according to a study by the Urban Institute that was commissioned by the Washington-based National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group. Researchers studied three communities that experienced work site immigration raids in the last year to see what impact the raids had on children. I interviewed Steve Joel, the superintendent of the public school district in Grand Island, Neb., one of the communities featured in the report, for an immigration article published ...


Just in case I want to read about the education of English-language learners on this rainy day on the East Coast, (the rain is welcome here after such a long dry spell), there are a lot of recent publications to choose from. Scholastic Inc. has published English Learners in American Classrooms: 101 Questions, 101 Answers, by James Crawford and Stephen Krashen. The book answers practical questions, such as "Do ELLs need to be taught English phonics?" The authors' short answer is that teaching ELLs the most straightforward phonics rules can be useful, but drilling them in complex and irregular rules ...


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