If you live near or in the nation's capital and would like to hear how some very accomplished second-language learners in this country learned English, you might want to get tickets to an event at the National Geographic Society on Oct. 30. Several contributors to a new book, How I Learned English: 55 Accomplished Latinos Recall Lessons in Language and Life, will share stories on that evening. Here's a review of the book by the Los Angeles Times from Sept. 23. I'm thinking that some writings in the book would be inspiring, or at least entertaining, for English-language learners. Television ...


Kathleen Leos has resigned from her position as the director of the office of English-language acquisition of the U.S. Department of Education after two years in the job and five and a half years working for that office. Starting on Monday, which is also the first day of the Education Department's annual summit for English-language learners, Margarita Pinkos, the assistant associate deputy secretary for the office of English-language acquisition, will be acting director. In an e-mail message answering questions I sent to the department about her resignation, Ms. Leos said she is "leaving to pursue a multitude of projects" ...


Despite passionate floor speeches by U.S. Senators Richard J. Durbin and Harry Reid, both Democrats, supporters of legislation that would give some undocumented students in this country a path toward legalization failed yesterday to win the 60 votes they needed for the bill to proceed in the legislative process. According to the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Senate, 52 senators voted "yea" on the "DREAM Act," 40 lawmakers voted "nay," and four didn't vote. "I could go through for an hour or more the stories of these young people that I've met," Mr. Durbin said in ...


While reporting for an article published in Education Week this week, I couldn't find any reading experts outside of state or federal governments who believe that Reading First—the flagship reading program under the No Child Left Behind Act—is working really well for English-language learners. When I asked U.S. Department of Education officials if they feel the program has been effective for this group of students, they pointed to what they said was progress in reading shown by English-language learners in some states under Reading First. Click here for the report that they used to back up that ...


My colleague David Hoff has passed along to me a draft of Title III, the section of the No Child Left Behind Act for English-acquisition programs, that a Senate committee is proposing for reauthorization of the act. Unlike the "discussion draft" released by the House Education and Labor Committee in August, the proposals of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee are not yet online. The partial draft of a revised NCLB from the Senate has only been circulated among lobbyists for comments (for more on that see David Hoff's blog, NCLB: Act II). This afternoon, I laid out ...


Parents of a Latino boy in Oregon who speaks only English have sued the Hillsboro School District because they claim their son was placed in an English-as-a-second-language program based on his ethnicity, according to an article published this week in The Oregonian. A Hillsboro school official said in an Associated Press article that the school district places children in ESL programs based on a home-language survey and assessment. That's the practice across the nation, in accordance with federal law. The Oregonian article says the issue was complicated by the fact the boy is developmentally delayed. What's particularly interesting to me, ...


When U.S. Department of Education officials speak publicly about sticky issues concerning English-language learners, such as how to assess them, they usally mention the LEP Partnership. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced the partnership in July 2006 as an effort to help states deal with assessment of ELLs. State education officials have come to Washington twice so far for meetings of the partnership. The LEP Partnership members will meet for the third time on Sunday, Oct. 28. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond J. Simon's staff provided a schedule for the release of six publications that ...


The lack of a national standard for how English-language learners are identified and tracked—and a lack of a uniform standard even within some states—makes it difficult for anyone to know how well such students are doing academically. That's one point made in a report, "English, Language Education, and America's Future," released this month by the Alexandria, Va.-based National Association of State Boards of Education. As of this writing, the report hadn't been posted on-line, but the Web site of the National Association of State Boards of Education says it is "coming soon." The report makes five recommendations...


Quite a few times when I've interviewed Timothy M. Hogan, the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the Flores v. Arizona federal court case concerning the rights of English-language learners, and he's been frustrated that the Arizona legislature hasn't satisfied a federal court order concerning the lawsuit, he's made the statement: "We'll just have to go back to court." Flores v. Arizona is the case in which a judge has ruled that Arizona doesn't adequately pay for the education of its English-language learners. Arizona lawmakers missed a deadline to fix the problem set for the end of their last legislative session, ...


Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is running for president, has urged California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to sign a bill that would enable undocumented students who graduate from high school to receive college aid, according to the Associated Press. The bill would make low-income immigrant students who are undocumented eligible to receive state grants or community college fee waivers. California, along with nine other states, already allows such students to pay in-state college tuition rates. To get a sense for how heated the debate is in this country over any policies that give a break to undocumented students, read comments to ...


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