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...


Demographically speaking--if one can really speak that way--the U.S. Department of Education appears to have picked the right school district to give a grant for training teachers of English-language learners. It's in the metropolitan area with the fastest-growing Hispanic-student population in the nation, and many of those students likely are ELLs. Are you thinking Texas or Florida or California? Think again. We're talking Arkansas. The University of Arkansas, in partnership with the school district of Springdale, Ark., just received a federal grant of $1.3 million to train 100 English-as-a-second-language teachers over the next five years, according to the ...


It's been interesting to see how readers of this blog have expressed what they think of Diane Ravitch's definition for bilingual education that appears in her new book about education jargon. See my earlier post, "Plenty of 'Edspeak' to Go Around." Since some readers relayed what they presume is her philosophy concerning bilingual education or the education of Hispanic students, I asked Ms. Ravitch if she wanted to respond to comments. I also asked if she wanted to defend her definition or acknowledge that it could be improved. Here's what she said: "The definition of bilingual education in my book ...


In her book about educational jargon published in July, education historian Diane Ravitch includes a number of terms I hear tossed around in the field of educating English-language learners. I confess that I toss some of those terms around myself. In the preface of EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon, Ms. Ravitch writes that while a specialized vocabulary may help people working in a particular field to discuss "sophisticated ideas that are beyond the understanding of the average citizen," the result, "is to mystify the public." I applaud Ms. Ravitch for trying to translate educational terms ...


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