I've been reading so many stories lately in my morning newspaper, The Washington Post, about people who would like to stop the flow of immigrants—undocumented immigrants in particular— to their communities that I was surprised to see a front-page article in today's Post with this headline: "Immigrants Haven't Worn Out The Welcome Mat in Arlington." The article tells how educators in Arlington, Va., have really tried to figure out how to best teach immigrant students English and academic content over the years, and how the public schools are doing well. The article also notes that Arlington County received...


The Institute for Language and Education Policy—which says its mission is to educate the public on research-based strategies for English-language learners—has posted a 10-page critique of a 13-page document that an Arizona task force is using to justify changes in programs for ELLs. Also, the Washington-based Center on Education Policy released a report, "Caught in the Middle: Arizona's English Language Learners and the High School Exit Exam," today that includes the following recommendation: "The state's structured English-immersion models should be rethought to require school districts to implement instructional models that are truly research-based." That report quotes a task force...


Students in about 35 school districts in North Carolina have the option of taking a course called Spanish for Native Speakers, according to an article published yesterday in the Winston-Salem Journal. The students who enroll in the classes have been speaking Spanish all their lives, but many of them don't know the proper grammar for the language, according to the article. Many also have been speaking English all their lives, and one point of the classes is to help them become truly bilingual. These kinds of courses have been around for a long time, but there's been surprisingly little support ...


The Urban Institute followed up the release of its report, "Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America's Children," commissioned by the National Council of La Raza, with a panel discussion on the topic of how children have been affected by workplace immigration raids. You can listen to the two-hour discussion held Nov. 8, co-sponsored by the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, online. I dipped in and out of the audio recordings of the panel presentations and didn't hear anything pertaining particularly to schools. The report, however, recommends that schools create plans to ...


If a child has the name Juan Carlos Hernandez Gonzalez, how should a school record that student's name in its databases? What if the name is Abdul Rahman bin Tariq bin Khalid Al-Alawi? A report prepared by the Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia for the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences gives some answers to these questions. It's called "Registering Students From Language Backgrounds Other than English." The report makes a point that I had never thought of, that if schools don't develop consistent rules for how students' names from various cultures are recorded, a child's academic history ...


As a follow-up to a couple of blog entries I've written lately (here and here) about how schools have gotten caught up in law-enforcement actions by federal immigration authorities, I'll point you to an article in November's issue of The School Administrator, published by the American Association of School Administrators. In "Fighting for Immigrant Children's Rights," several school superintendents recall how they responded to immigration raids in their communities to make sure children were safe and cared for. (I wrote about this topic for Education Week in September). New to me was an anecdote about how educators at the Board ...


I mention in this week's Education Week how bilingual education got a lot of attention at last week's summit on English-language learners, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, in Washington. The educational method received very little attention at the previous five annual conferences on this group of students. I worry a bit about sounding like a broken record in continually reporting on whether the various entities of the federal government are giving credence to bilingual education, but the debate over whether it's better to teach English-language learners through bilingual education or English-only methods is highly political, and I'll ...


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, ...


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