I write in this week's edition of Education Week about how some people are still talking about Herman Badillo's book, One Nation, One Standard: An Ex-Liberal on How Hispanics Can Succeed Just Like Other Immigrant Groups, though it was published at the end of last year. In the book Mr. Badillo, who was the nation's first Puerto Rico-born U.S. Representative, admonishes Hispanics for not placing enough importance on education and urges them to look to the example of people of Asian heritage for guidance. Mr. Badillo delivered the same message to a room full of people with cloth napkins ...


I've visited some classrooms in which teenagers who were English-language learners and read at a 1st grade level were reading from books for little kids because apparently the teacher couldn't find more suitable materials. So I was happy to learn recently that Margarita Calderón had written materials for adolescent ELLs who are just starting to read. She told me last week that she's found a publisher for those materials, Benchmark Education Company. Schools across the country receive a sizeable number of immigrant teenagers each year who didn't learn how to read in their home countries. Sometimes they dropped out of ...


It's not surprising that James Crawford, a long-time writer about language policy and a critic of the effects of the No Child Left Behind Act on English-language learners, has taken a close look at the statistics U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings cited in a letter regarding the actions of Virginia education officials. Ms. Spellings used statistics about English-language learners to make the point that the No Child Left Behind Act is working for ELLs. Ms. Spellings' Feb. 4 letter was sent to the Washington Post and addressed the testing showdown between Virginia and the federal government regarding ELLs. ...


Despite the teaser for this blog on the home page saying I will tackle the "complexities and nuances" of teaching English-language learners, I admit I have already missed at least one nuance. Claude Goldenberg, the executive director of the Center for Language Minority Education and Research at California State University-Long Beach, pointed out I'm not being accurate when I say my blog is about "immigrant students" when it's really about English-language learners. He's right that most English-language learners are born in the United States and therefore aren't immigrants. I see now that it's a weak defense, when you have sharp ...


Parents and teachers of bilingual children might want to savor a Feb. 7 article that features the language assets of a couple of children in an immigrant family. Such articles about heritage speakers of languages other than English are rare while it seems there is a glut of articles about monolingual children who speak English and have embarked on learning a second language in school immersion programs. Sacramento Bee reporter Carrie Peyton Dahlberg zeros in on two school children, ages 6 and 9, who speak four languages to liven up her story about research findings favoring bilingualism. The two siblings ...


If Adrian Fenty, the mayor of the District of Columbia, gets approval from the D.C. Council to take charge of the District of Columbia schools, he'll have an expert on hand who understands the needs of English-language learners. Julia Lara headed various initiatives to benefit English-learners for 20 years at the Washington-based Council of Chief State School Officers, but left that organization in June. After some gardening and relaxation, she started a new job on Jan. 16, she told me in a telephone interview last week, as the special assistant for the D.C.'s deputy mayor for education, ...


I'm curious to see what the next move will be in the chess game between Virginia education officials and U.S. Department of Education officials regarding how to include beginning English-language learners in large-scale testing under the No Child Left Behind Act. The No. 2 official in the U.S. Department of Education, Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond J. Simon, has told Virginia officials to enforce testing requirements for such students OR ELSE. Mr. Simon said in a Jan. 31 letter to Virginia’s superintendent of public instruction, Billy K. Cannaday Jr., that he was “greatly distressed to hear that ...


Welcome to Learning the Language, a new blog at edweek.org about immigrant children in U.S. schools and the teachers and policymakers who help them to learn English. I started working for Education Week more than nine years ago writing about school technology. But I soon realized that I really wanted to be the reporter who wrote about immigrant students. I wanted to travel to pockets of the country and learn about people from interesting parts of the world. Seven years ago I got the beat I wanted, and I've had a blast with the cross-cultural experiences that it ...


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