California will be the last state to fully comply with requirements in the No Child Left Behind Act that a state's English-language learners must be tested in English proficiency each year in grades K-12. I reported recently that all states and the District of Columbia had cleared an initial hurdle in putting such tests in place. (A blog entry on the same subject is here.) But my article didn't mention one nuance. California is still lacking one small piece of the English-language-proficiency testing system required by the federal government. The state is testing English-learners in kindergarten and 1st grade only ...


About 2 million of the nation's 53.3 million school-age children, or 4 percent, are living in the country illegally, says a report released by the Congressional Budget Office this month. And an additional 3 million school-age children are U.S. citizens born to parents who are undocumented. Those figures were first reported by the Urban Institute. The congressional report, "The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments," is the first national report I've seen in several years released by the U.S. government that gives some clues about how much it costs state and ...


The winter 2008 issue of JSD, the journal of the National Staff Development Council, features stories of how several public school districts have trained mainstream teachers to work with ELLs. (The issue is free only to members of the organization and otherwise must be purchased.) Freeport Public Schools, a school district on Long Island, for example, combined two professional development strategies—lesson study, which originates in Japan, and Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, or SIOP, which resulted from a research project of the Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence. In lesson study, teachers form teams, create lessons together, observe...


For months, Florida educators have been debating what level of training should be required of reading teachers who work with English-language learners. In June, Florida Gov. Charlie Christ vetoed a bill that would have lessened the requirements in English-as-a-second-language training to 60 in-service hours for reading teachers who teach ELLs, down from 300 hours. This fall, a similar bill (Senate Bill 286) was introduced in the Florida legislature. An analysis of the bill is available here. To get a sense for the passion of educators fighting for and against a reduction in training, read my earlier blog entries, here, and ...


If an English-language learner is moving into young adulthood and is short of a lot of credits to graduate from high school, he or she may decide to attend schools operated by the Office of Multiple Pathways to Graduation run by the New York City Department of Education, which aims to reach students at risk of dropping out. Advocates for Children of New York, a local nonprofit organization, put out a policy brief this week that contends many of those alternative schools are violating state law because they aren't offering the minimum of services required for ELLs. The policy brief ...


The Roswell Independent School District in New Mexico has a policy that school officials don't ascertain the immigration status of students, which complies with federal laws that entitle undocumented students to a free K-12 education. But that didn't stop a school resource police officer from discovering that Karina Acosta, a senior at Roswell High School, was undocumented, detaining her at school, and referring her to immigration authorities, according to news reports from Roswell and Albuquerque (here and here). She was deported to Mexico this month. (I learned about this story over at ImmigrationProf.blog). School officials are protesting the students' ...


I may be out of touch, but a Dec. 7 article in The News & Observer is the first news coverage I've seen of a plan by a school district to intentionally spread out the number of English-language learners in its schools because of accountability provisions under the No Child Left Behind Act. The article says that some board members of the Wake County, N.C., school district have argued that it's necessary to more evenly distribute the number of ELLs in schools so that individual schools are not overburdened with students who are struggling to pass standardized tests. At a ...


Someone over at the language-education division of Caslon Publishing in Philadelphia sent me review copies of a couple of handbooks published in 2007 that I think could help school people who want to form districtwide teams to address needs of ELLs. The first handbook, Special Education Considerations for English Language Learners: Delivering a Continuum of Services, which costs $34.95, advises educators on how to move beyond the question of "to refer or not to refer" an English-language learner to special education. It explains how schools can bring together a team of people with different kinds of expertise to address ...


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) ...


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