A new research brief about children in immigrant families contains some interesting observations that indicate education policy can make a difference in whether children of Mexican heritage go to preschool. The researchers from the State University of New York at Albany who wrote the brief say that in Mexico, where preschool is free, 81 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled in preschool in 2005. By contrast, in 2004, 55 percent of children in Mexican immigrant families living in the United States participated in preschool. (Preschool is NOT free in most places in the United States, though the researchers don't say this ...


A bill that would require Colorado students, starting in the graduating class of 2012, to show they are competent in English before they can get a high school diploma is working its way through the Colorado legislature. The Colorado Senate passed the bill, SB 73, on March 20, and it has been introduced and assigned to an education committee in the Colorado House. A March 20 article in the Rocky Mountain News tells about the bill, which requires each of the state's 178 school districts to decide how it will determine if its students have mastered English. Sen. Chris Romer, ...


For at least the second time, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne has hired someone for an important post in the Arizona Department of Education whose views on the education of English-language learners were widely publicized in statewide controversies related to such students. Last month, Mr. Horne hired Kelt L. Cooper, 47, a former superintendent of the 6,400-student Nogales Unified School District, as the director of technical assistance for English-acquisition services of the state department of education. Mr. Cooper said in an interview with me this week that he was offered the job after he testified in federal ...


Joe DeSantis, the director of communications for a public relations firm working for Newt Gingrich, passed on some additional information about the former House Speaker's study of Spanish. The classes are being provided by an Atlanta-based institute, Bilingual America. (The institute's name seems a bit ironic, given that Mr. Gingrich reportedly said last weekend that "allowing bilingualism to continue to grow is very dangerous." But of course, I have to remember that he's offered a clarification for what he said last week.) Mr. DeSantis says that Mr. Gingrich has studied 100 hours of a 280-hour Spanish course offered by the ...


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who reportedly equated bilingual education with "the language of living in a ghetto" in a recent speech, has offered an acknowledgement on You Tube that his words "produced a bad feeling within the Latino community" and that "the words I chose to express myself were not the best." This Week in Education made note of Mr. Gingrich's clarification yesterday. What's most surprising to me about Mr. Gingrich's acknowledgement, though, is that he offers it in Spanish. What I just wrote in the previous paragraph is a translation that appears in subtitles on the video clip ...


These days, if you pay attention to issues affecting English-language learners, it's hard to overlook what used to be a little known fact about them--that most are not immigrants but rather were born in the United States. Peter Zamora, the Washington counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, included this fact in his recent testimony on English-language learners and reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act before a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee. (For more on Mr. Zamora's views about English-language learners, see my profile of him in this ...


This bit of news has received so much comment by bloggers that I need not add any more. I merely note that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich apparently equated bilingual education with the "language of living in a ghetto." He also reportedly said in a March 31 speech he made to the National Federation of Republican Women that "allowing bilingualism to continue to grow is very dangerous." The March 31 Associated Press article about the speech is here. Here's the Tennessee Guerilla Women's response. Likewise, "la bloguera" of the Adventures of the Coconut Caucus disagrees. For someone who agrees with ...


I'm not sure exactly when it was released, but the National Center on Educational Outcomes at the University of Minnesota has posted a "new" study on its Web site about how language-minority children spend their time before and after school and what difference it makes in how well they do in school. Language-minority children are those who come from homes where a language other than English is spoken; the researchers surveyed parents who spoke only English or Spanish. They surveyed parents or guardians of 9,583 children who participated in the 2001 administration of the National Household Education Survey Program ...


Some of you might remember that about this time last year, Arizona had racked up nearly $21 million in federal fines because the state's Republican-controlled legislature and Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, couldn't agree on how to meet a federal court order in the case of Flores v. Arizona to pay adequately for the education of English-language learners. The stalemate finally was broken when Gov. Napolitano permitted to become law--without her signature--a measure approved by the legislature last spring to address the problem. But U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins then rejected the law, saying it didn't bear a "rational...


A couple of booths in the exhibitors' hall for the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Inc. conference last week caught my fancy and displayed products that I think might interest teachers of English-language learners. At one booth, Shane Dixon, of Provo, Utah, was strumming a white guitar and singing songs with lyrics in the style of James Taylor (who was popular when Baby Boomers were in high school). Mr. Dixon is a teacher of English as a second language and was promoting his "ESL tunes," which he sells on a CD, called "Grammar Rocks." I tried out ...


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