I teach English as a second language to three immigrant women one night a week as a volunteer for the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, in Maryland, so I have a personal interest in the recent findings by researchers from the Migration Policy Institute on adult English-language instruction. I figure that some of you may have an interest as well because the researchers are talking about the parents of many of the children whom you serve. The 24-page study, "Adult English Language Instruction in the United States: Determining Need and Investing Wisely," spells out how much money it would cost ...


Many English-language learners have trouble reading cursive writing, so mainstream teachers can make life easier for them if they write on the blackboard in print letters. That's one of ten tips for how mainstream teachers can make slight adjustments in their teaching that will help English-learners to follow what's going on in the classroom, recommended by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (whose contract to operate has ended). ¡Colorín Colorado!, a bilingual Web site for teachers and families of ELLs, sent the list of ten tips out on a listserv yesterday. Among the other tips are reminders for teachers to ...


Immigrants to the United States often use the commercial mass media to help them learn English, and they are susceptible "to swallow the value system," warns Elizabeth Thoman, the founder of the Center for Media Literacy. She's quoted in an article posted on the center's Web site that makes the case that teachers of English as a second language should tap into the growing media literacy field to develop lessons. One goal of teaching English-language learners about the media would be to help them avoid being passive and vulnerable to media messages, and enable them to make good selections as ...


Arkansas will receive 26 percent less in federal funds to educate its English-language learners this school year than the previous school year—-or $891,770 less than the $3.4 million the state received for such students last school year, according to an article published today in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. But last school year, the state got 90 percent more in funds for ELLs than it did in the 2005-2006 school year. The amount of federal funding a state gets is based on the count of ELLs in that state, and the fluctuations in funding for Arkansas, according to the ...


One of the recommendations of the National Association for Bilingual Education for reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act is that the law should base the participation of English-language learners in standardized testing on students' English-proficiency levels, not the amount of time that children have spent in the United States, as is the case with the law now. The recommendation says that English-language learners should at least be at the advanced level in English when they take states' regular tests for accountability purposes under the No Child Left Behind Act. Currently English-language learners must take their state's math test ...


In a commentary arguing that the United States should establish English as the national language, a couple of writers from the Heritage Foundation also claim that English immersion is more effective in schools than bilingual education. The commentary was posted today on the Tucson Citizen Web site. In the piece, writers Matthew Spalding and Israel Ortega imply that schools should use English immersion to teach children from immigrant families. Here's an excerpt: "The empirical data in favor of English immersion—the opposite of multilingualism—are overwhelming, with even its most vociferous opponents conceding its merits." Apparently as an example ...


A federal judge has ruled that bilingual education and English-as-a-second-language programs in Texas comply with federal law, according to an article published today in The Dallas Morning News. Hispanic civil rights groups—the League of United Latin American Citizens and the GI Forum—asked U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice last year to update a court order he had issued 35 years ago that required Texas to provide a better education for English-language learners. In yesterday's court ruling, he rejected their arguments that ELLs are receiving an inferior education in public schools, the article says. By the way, Justice...


Here's a story of an educator who picked up an idea at a conference and copied it for some of the English-language learners he serves in his work. The idea is to give ELLs a certificate and honor them in a special way when their school districts officially reclassify them as fluent in English. Mark R. Condit, a program manager for multilingual education for the San Joaquin County Office of Education in California, heard educators from the West Contra Costa Unified School District speak at a session of the California Association for Bilingual Education about how they honor English-language learners ...


It's useful to look at the findings of a recent United States Government Accountability Office report and note how various groups of people of Asian heritage are faring in getting college and university degrees. Inside Higher Ed notes that it's important for educators not to assume that all Asian-American students are doing better in school than everyone else—and don't need any help. The report shows that 13 percent of Cambodian, Laotian, and Hmong adults attain at least a 4-year degree while 68 percent of Asian Indian adults do so....


I've been out of the office reporting on children from migrant families in Pennsylvania, and I see that several of you have posted your reflections about who picks up the tab--and who should pick up the tab--for educating undocumented immigrants. See "Utah Asks Feds to Pay for Educating Undocumented Children." The comment that got me thinking was posted by Barbara Acosta. She said: "If we think cutting services to immigrants will lower our taxes, then it would only be fair to pay a decent price for our T-shirts, bluejeans and lettuce so those families can make a decent living and ...


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