In the news business, we sometimes joke that if we can find three examples of something, it's a trend. I've found three examples of organizations or companies offering short on-line seminars on the education of English-language learners, so I believe I've stumbled on a trend for how short-term professional development is being delivered in the field. On Oct. 10, LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., is offering a "webinar" for strategies and practical tips for teaching English-language learners. Mary Lou McClosky, a former president of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc., and Maria Enrique, a teacher at Alvin Dunn Elementary ...


If you'd like to know more about ELLs who were born in the United States, read Debra Suarez's review of the research on these students in the summer issue of the Heritage Language Journal. (Click on the second article in the Table of Contents.) Ms. Suarez, an associate professor for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, writes that in the 1991-1992 school year, a researcher found that about one-third of ELLs were born in the United States; in 2006, another researcher found that proportion had nearly doubled to 64 percent. ...


Leaders of the Los Angeles Unified School District would like to see the No Child Left Behind Act reauthorized so that money distributed to states for language-acquisition programs can be used for early-childhood education. That's one message that David L. Brewer III, who has been superintendent of the school system for nearly a year, and several other district officials took to Capitol Hill this week. Such a provision is not in the "discussion draft" of the House Education and Labor Committee. I heard the school district officials' views when they stopped by Education Week's offices this morning to talk with ...


It's a good time for educators and experts in the field to debate what kinds of alternative assessments for English-language learners work best, since assessment is dominating discussions about reauthorization of provisions for such students in the No Child Left Behind Act. Don Soifer, the executive vice president of the Lexington Institute, a conservative think tank in Arlington, Va., has been trying to get the word out that the institute opposes the use of portfolio assessments for ELLs for accountability purposes. Portfolio tests base test scores on samples of student work. The institute issued a 10-page report—writer Robert Holland's...


Sen. Richard J. Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, was unable yesterday to get enough support from other lawmakers to include the "DREAM Act" as an amendment to a U.S. Department of Defense authorization bill, according to an e-mail message sent to me by his staff. The amendment would have provided a path to legalization for undocumented students who graduate from U.S. high schools and attend college or serve in the military for at least two years—and meet certain other criteria. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, however, voiced his support for the DREAM...


CORRECTION: The following blog item that I posted earlier this afternoon contains an inaccuracy. The "DREAM Act" that Sen. Richard J. Durbin hopes to introduce as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill currently being debated on the U.S. Senate floor doesn't offer in-state college tuition rates for undocumented students. That provision was contained in an earlier version of the amendment but was removed in the version of the amendment filed in the Senate last week. ORIGINAL BLOG ENTRY It won't be at least until next week that the "DREAM Act," offering some college tuition help for ...


Knowing that I'm particularly interested in the education of Native American children as well as children from immigrant families, one of my colleagues here at Education Week drew my attention to the fact that Sven Haakanson, an advocate of the revitalization of the language and culture of Alutiiq people in Alaska, has received a $500,000 award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. (See an article in the Anchorage Daily News about the award.) Mr. Haakanson is an Alutiiq and a trained anthropologist who educates the public about his people as the executive director of the Alutiiq ...


I've been here in Rapid City, S.D., most of the week attending an "Indian Education Summit" hosted by the South Dakota Department of Education. Because of the loss of indigenous languages in Indian country, most American Indian children these days speak English as their first language. A local educator here (who declined to tell me his age except to say he's lived "many winters") told me, for example, that he's one of the 2 percent of Lakota people who are fluent in Lakota. In a breakout session about teaching strategies that take into consideration the culture of Native Americans, ...


Five percent of elementary and secondary school students in the United States both speak a language other than English at home AND "speak English with difficulty," according to a report released recently by the National Center for Education Statistics. (Corrected from earlier version of post.) Those are the children to whom this blog is devoted. I usually call them English-language learners. The 157-page report, "Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities," says that 20 percent of all school children in the United States are language-minority children, which means they speak a language other than English at ...


I'm returning to an issue I mentioned in an earlier post, about whether providing the option for students to take tests for many years in their native languages—and by extension, whether offering bilingual education—results somehow in a slowing down of students' learning of English. I raised this issue when blogging that U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has objected to a provision in the House Education and Labor Committee's "discussion draft" for reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act involving English-language learners. The provision would permit school districts to give ELLs state tests in their native languages...


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