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 ...


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 ...


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