The House Labor and Education Committee has released a discussion draft for reauthorizing the Title III section of the No Child Left Behind Act that charges the U.S. Secretary of Education with figuring out a method to identify English-language learners that can be used to reliably distribute funds for such students. Title III is the section of the federal education law that authorizes funding for English-acquisition programs. A summary of the discussion draft says that requirement is meant to address recommendations contained in a December 2006 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office pointing out problems with the ...


U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings doesn't like some of the provisions for English-language learners in a preliminary proposal by leaders of the House Education and Labor Committee for reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. (See previous post, here.) In a letter she sent today to Rep. George Miller, a Democrat from California who is chairman of the committee, she criticized the proposal that school districts could let English-language learners take tests in their native language for up to five years, with the option of extending that time by two more years on a case-by-case basis. "That's ...


Until this week, I'd never heard of Jose-Pablo Fernandez. He's the former director of the Mexican Institute of Houston, and he just won a $10,000 Purpose Prize for his creation of a program to teach computer courses in Spanish to parents at the same schools their children attend. The program, which also encourages parents to get involved in their children's education, is now offered in 110 schools and community centers in Houston, San Antonio, and Beaumont, Texas. The Purpose Prize is given to people in their "second half of life working on critical social issues," according to a press ...


State monitors overseeing Arizona's programs for English-language learners have been out and about visiting classrooms, and they report that some teachers educating such students don't have a command of the language, according to an Aug. 31 article in the Arizona Republic. The evaluators, who based their conclusions on visits to 32 school districts last school year, also said that in a dozen school districts, teachers were sidestepping state law by teaching Spanish in the classroom. (In Arizona, state law permits bilingual education only under very restricted circumstances.) Note that the article is based on anecdotal information from the state's report, ...


Oakland Unified School District in California this week opened its first school that enrolls only immigrant students. Called the Oakland International High School, it is modeled after international high schools in New York City for newcomers to the United States, according to a news broadcast by a California television station. The school aims to help English-language learners acquire the language and academic skills they need to graduate from high school and go on to college. The school was started with help from the Internationals Network for Public Schools, a nonprofit organization in New York City that gives support to eight ...


The House Education Committee has released a draft of a reauthorized No Child Left Behind Act that provides both added flexibility and a couple of new requirements concerning how schools educate and assess English-language learners. For an overview of the draft, read the article by my colleagues David J. Hoff and Alyson Klein. Among the added flexibility is the opportunity for school districts to test ELLs in their native language for up to five years—up from three years in the current law—with the option of extending that testing for two additional years for children on a case-by-case...


Education Week published this week a story I wrote about educators' ideas for reauthorization of the federal migrant education program under the No Child Left Behind Act. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 36 percent of the 685,000 children in the migrant education program are English-language learners. Most migrant children are Latinos. Don't miss the accompanying photo gallery, put together by Sarah Evans, Education Week's director of photography....


If you've read my blog items about states' attempts to estimate the cost of educating undocumented children, you'll appreciate a cautionary statement in a December 2006 report examining the costs and benefits of the presence of undocumented immigrants in Texas. In the introduction to education costs in "Undocumented Immigrants in Texas: A Financial Analysis of the Impact to the State Budget and Economy," Carole Keeton Strayhorn, a former Texas comptroller and the author of the report, writes: "Any estimate of state costs associated with undocumented immigrants is imprecise due to the difficulties involved in determining their numbers. In public education, ...


The American Civil Liberties Union announced a settlement today with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the ACLU says will improve conditions for immigrant children and their families at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, which is a branch of the U.S. Homeland Security Department, followed up with its own announcement confirming the settlement and saying: "Indeed, [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] had already implemented many of the modifications contained in the final agreement." Part of the settlement agreement describes the kind of schooling the center will provide. ...


For the first time, Fairfax County schools failed to make adequate yearly progress goals under the No Child Left Behind Act, and district officials say it's primarily because they were required by the federal government to change their policy last school year for testing English-language learners in reading, according to a Washington Post article published Aug. 24. Officials from the Fairfax County school district put up a good fight last school year to get permission from the U.S. Department of Education to continue to give beginning-level English-language learners an English-proficiency test—instead of a regular reading test—for accountability...


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