A new resource is being developed that could be useful for schools with bilingual programs in Navajo and English—the first software system to teach the Navajo language. The software will be owned by the Cornville, Ariz.-based organization, Navajo Language Renaissance, and is being created with assistance from Rosetta Stone, a Harrisonburg, Va.-based company, according to a Jan. 6 Associated Press article. A Dec. 6 Navajo Times article gives additional details, such as that the project is endorsed by the Navajo Nation Board of Education. I wrote about a bilingual Navajo-English school on the Navajo Nation in Window...


What do Angelina Jolie and I have in common? We've both visited an immigration detention center in the United States for unaccompanied minors. These centers house children who are picked up by federal immigration authorities without their parents. Often, the children are trying to reunite with their parents in the United States. Last school year, I visited the Boystown shelter for unaccompanied minors in Miami and wrote about the school there run by the Miami-Dade public school district. Ms. Jolie, well-known for her off-screen involvement in humanitarian causes, has visited a shelter for unaccompanied minors in Phoenix run by Southwest ...


Under the No Child Left Behind Act, English-language learners must be tested in how well they are acquiring English. If they are enrolled in dual-language programs—which in this country most commonly teach Spanish and English—the federal law doesn't require schools to measure students' progress in Spanish as well. But for those educators who would like to keep track of how their students in dual-language programs are progressing in Spanish, the Center for Applied Linguistics provides a free guide about Spanish-language assessments. The guide doesn't recommend one test over another. But it provides a lot of information unlikely...


Larry Ferlazzo, who teaches English-language learners at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif., regularly reports on the Web sites he considers to be most useful for teachers of English as a second language. See his resource-sharing blog for a list of "The Best Internet Sites for English-Language Learners—2007" and "The Best Web 2.0 Applications for ESL/EFL Learners—2007."...


My next post on Learning the Language will be early in the new year. Have a lovely holiday season and happy new year....


California will be the last state to fully comply with requirements in the No Child Left Behind Act that a state's English-language learners must be tested in English proficiency each year in grades K-12. I reported recently that all states and the District of Columbia had cleared an initial hurdle in putting such tests in place. (A blog entry on the same subject is here.) But my article didn't mention one nuance. California is still lacking one small piece of the English-language-proficiency testing system required by the federal government. The state is testing English-learners in kindergarten and 1st grade only ...


About 2 million of the nation's 53.3 million school-age children, or 4 percent, are living in the country illegally, says a report released by the Congressional Budget Office this month. And an additional 3 million school-age children are U.S. citizens born to parents who are undocumented. Those figures were first reported by the Urban Institute. The congressional report, "The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments," is the first national report I've seen in several years released by the U.S. government that gives some clues about how much it costs state and ...


The winter 2008 issue of JSD, the journal of the National Staff Development Council, features stories of how several public school districts have trained mainstream teachers to work with ELLs. (The issue is free only to members of the organization and otherwise must be purchased.) Freeport Public Schools, a school district on Long Island, for example, combined two professional development strategies—lesson study, which originates in Japan, and Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, or SIOP, which resulted from a research project of the Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence. In lesson study, teachers form teams, create lessons together, observe...


For months, Florida educators have been debating what level of training should be required of reading teachers who work with English-language learners. In June, Florida Gov. Charlie Christ vetoed a bill that would have lessened the requirements in English-as-a-second-language training to 60 in-service hours for reading teachers who teach ELLs, down from 300 hours. This fall, a similar bill (Senate Bill 286) was introduced in the Florida legislature. An analysis of the bill is available here. To get a sense for the passion of educators fighting for and against a reduction in training, read my earlier blog entries, here, and ...


If an English-language learner is moving into young adulthood and is short of a lot of credits to graduate from high school, he or she may decide to attend schools operated by the Office of Multiple Pathways to Graduation run by the New York City Department of Education, which aims to reach students at risk of dropping out. Advocates for Children of New York, a local nonprofit organization, put out a policy brief this week that contends many of those alternative schools are violating state law because they aren't offering the minimum of services required for ELLs. The policy brief ...


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