Saul Arellano may be one of the most well-known schoolchildren in the United States whose mother has been deported. Saul's mother, Elvira Arellano, 32, is an undocumented immigrant who lived in the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago for a year to avoid being deported and separated from her son, who is 8 and a U.S. citizen. The boy participated in rallies and met with Washington politicians and Mexican officials in a campaign to try to persuade U.S. immigration authorities to let his mother stay in the United States, according to a May 8 interview with the boy ...


Some Arkansas lawmakers are looking into how much it costs the state to educate children of undocumented immigrants. But at a recent legislative hearing, they couldn't get a simple answer from Andre Guerrero, the director of programs for language-minority students in the state. Mr. Guerrero told me in a phone interview last week that he was questioned for about an hour at the Aug. 14 hearing on the issue. "They wanted to know why we can’t collect data to determine if people are here legally or illegally—why we couldn’t ask for social security numbers and so forth,"...


A Dallas Morning News article published today explores whether schools should move toward replacing transitional bilingual education programs with dual-language immersion programs. The article tells how in Texas, some school districts are doing this. With transitional bilingual education, children receive some instruction in their native language while transitioning into English; such programs do not necessarily aim to have students maintain their native language. By contrast, dual-language programs aim for children to become literate and understand academic content in both their native language and English over the long haul. In many dual-language programs, children who speak Spanish and children who speak ...


Every once in a while, I hear of a situation in which a school district employee doesn't know that children are entitled to a free K-12 public education in this country regardless of their immigration status—and causes unnecessary problems for immigrant parents. That reportedly was the case with the assistant of the superintendent of the North Chicago Community Unit School District #187, in North Chicago, Ill., who is accused of telling a parent she couldn't enroll her child in school without providing proof of legal residency or work authorization. A regional counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and ...


Back in March, an official from the office of English language acquisition for the U.S. Department of Education told me the department was just about ready to send a two-year evaluation of programs for English-language learners to the U.S. Congress. It's now mid-August, and the report has yet to have been released. The No Child Left Behind Act requires that the U.S. Secretary of Education give an evaluation of programs funded under Title III, Part A, of the act to Congress every two years. (Click here for a description of the evaluation.) Title III is the section ...


I've been struck by the close relationships that recruiters for the federal migrant education program form with immigrant families. For one thing, they're more likely to find themselves visiting homes of families than many educators are. "I get invited to birthday parties, baptisms, and quinceañeras," Dorca L. Oyola, a native of Puerto Rico who recruits families for the federal migrant education program in Chester County, Pa., told me this summer while I was reporting on the program for Education Week. "I go and I recruit right there." Recruiting families means making sure they know that supplemental educational services are available ...


While the federal government requires school districts to communicate with immigrant parents "to the extent practicable" in languages they can understand, doing so is seldom a simple matter. An article that ran Aug. 13 in The New York Times provides insight into the challenges of translating school documents into many different languages. I wrote about the New York City Education Department's decision to set up a centralized office for translation and about efforts by other school districts to communicate with parents who don't speak English in October 2004. Readers, I'd like to hear how your school districts are trying to ...


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 ...


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