Congressman Ron Paul thinks it is "good and proper" to have English as the only language used for all legal matters at the national level, but that bilingualism should be permissible in schools. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, noted that he and others "fought for English immersion" in Massachusetts, referring to how Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure against bilingual education in 2002. Those are a couple of examples of how Republican candidates for president touched on language issues during yesterday's debate in Miami, sponsored by Univision, a Spanish-language network. Click here for a transcript. As I noted ...


One Latina got most of her information about college on her own, by searching the Internet. Another Latino student learned about the college application process through participation in Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, a college-prep program. The personal stories of how those two students and some other Latino youths made it to college are included in a report, "Voces (Voices): A Profile of Today's Latino College Students," released by Excelencia in Education, a Washington-based nonprofit organization. The report notes that despite increases in enrollment in higher education for Latinos, only 25 percent of college-age Latinos (ages 18 to 24) ...


It will soon be Christmas—a holiday celebrated by many Americans but not ALL Americans or students attending U.S. schools. The fact that Christmas is celebrated by many Americans gives teachers of English-language learners an opportunity to teach something about American culture, but the fact that it's not celebrated by everyone means they need to be sensitive in how they talk about it. The coming of Christmas can be a chance to talk about holidays in other countries as well as the United States. Colorin Colorado has posted some advice on what to consider when celebrating holidays in classrooms...


U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Colorado congressman and Republican candidate for president, turned down a Spanish-television network's invitation to appear in a debate among Republican presidential candidates this Sunday because he's opposed to having his remarks translated into Spanish, according to a Dec. 5 article in the Washington Times. Candidates will speak in English but their answers to questions will be translated into Spanish for broadcast on Univision, a Spanish-language network. The other Republican candidates accepted the invitation to participate in the debate, according to the article. The Washington Times quotes Mr. Tancredo as saying, "What all my colleagues—what...


An on-going goal I have for reporting on English-language learners here at Education Week is to get into classrooms as often as possible. Though I work for a newspaper about education, you'd be surprised how many weeks can go by—while I'm writing about proposals for reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act or explaining state policy changes concerning testing ELLs—that I don't set foot inside a classroom. Thus it was a pleasure to spend a day at Brooklyn International High School this fall trying to understand how teachers there provide instruction to ELLs of all different proficiency levels ...


An article published today in The Arizona Republic, "Money at heart of English-learning fight," gives an update to the long-standing controversy and court case in Arizona regarding how much the state must pay to educate its English-language learners. Republican legislative leaders in the state have appealed a U.S. district judge's ruling in Flores v. Arizona that the state legislature's plan for funding programs for ELLs doesn't meet federal law. (You can find my most recent posts on the court case here and here.) The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is expected to begin a hearing on ...


Whether Latinos in the United States are learning English quickly or not seems to be somewhat in the eye of the beholder. The Pew Hispanic Center reported last week that 88 percent of second-generation Latinos surveyed report they speak English very well. In their executive summary of the report, "English Usage Among Hispanics in the United States," the authors translated the 88 percent statistic into the following statement: "Nearly all Hispanic adults born in the United States of immigrant parents report they are fluent in English." But Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which ...


Some Arizona school district officials are trying to figure out how English-language learners can take in four hours of English instruction each day, as a new state law requires, while also making sure they receive instruction in core subjects, such as social studies and science, according to a Nov. 26 article in the East Valley Tribune. The reporter who wrote the article, Andrea Natekar, stated simply: "A task force, consisting of university faculty, school administrators and others—the chair an economist—met for more than a year, and came up with a research-based approach to learning English." When I read that...


"Citizenship Requirements" is a field of entry in the latest directory of college scholarships for "America's Latino students," published by the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute. For each listing of a scholarship organization, the directory says whether being a U.S. citizen (or legal resident, in some cases) is a criterion for eligibility. Quite a few private scholarship programs have no requirements in this regard (publicly funded programs are another story). Getting a copy of the directory in the mail reminded me that the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or "DREAM Act," was introduced but did not proceed ...


Over at TESOL in the News, I came across a courageous attempt by a reporter to explain what educators mean by reclassification rates for English-language learners. This is the rate that children are reclassified from being English-language learners to being fluent in English each year. Often, when I ask superintendents or state officials what their reclassification rates were for the previous year, they tell me "I can get that," which I suspect is another way of saying they haven't paid much heed to the statistic. Not so in California. In California, because school districts must report the statistic publicly every ...


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