Virginia's U.S. senators, John Warner, a Republican, and Jim Webb, a Democrat, introduced a bill on March 21 that would apply to school districts that have run into problems with the U.S. Department of Education regarding how they test English-language learners. If enacted, the bill would permit the school districts to continue with the way they now test such students for the current school year. Sen. Warner testified that the "impasse" between the federal government and Virginia school districts over how to include English-language learners in testing under the No Child Left Behind Act "could result in a ...


Katherine Leal Unmuth, of the Dallas Morning News, tells how a school board member in the Irving Independent School District in Texas pitched the idea of starting classes in English immersion and was told by the district's superintendent that it's against the law. Texas requires bilingual education. (Click here to read Ms. Unmuth's article.) This isn't the first time that educators or education leaders in Texas have suggested that the state should offer school districts more flexibility in how they teach English-language learners. I wrote about discussions on this issue held by the Texas Board of Education last school year. ...


About one in three 1st- and 2nd-generation Latino students in Nebraska say they plan to work full time after they finish high school. And educators are concerned about the tendency of many Latinos in that Midwestern state to drop out of school even before graduating to take unskilled jobs. Those are some recent findings by researchers Lourdes Gouveia and Mary Ann Powell at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, who have studied the integration--and sometimes the lack of integration--of Latinos into various aspects of community life in Nebraska. To learn more about Nebraska Latino students and schools, read page 5 ...


Providing learning materials and making available assessments in students' native languages, and hiring teachers and staff who speak students' primary languages are some of the "obvious" ways that California schools could improve how they teach English-language learners, according to a couple of researchers in the state. I find it interesting that Patricia Gándara, a professor of education at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Russell W. Rumberger, a professor of education at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have chosen the word "obvious" in their recent recommendation for an increase in the use of students' native languages in a ...


Kathyrn M. Doherty, a special assistant to Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond J. Simon, has been launching some projects under the LEP Partnership to guide states in how to include English-language learners in testing. But those projects will not be ready to "inform spring tests," she told me in a phone interview for an update on the LEP Partnership that was published in Education Week this week. She said that the U.S. Department of Education has dispatched staff to help individual states with testing issues for the spring season upon request. Ms. Doherty has engaged some well-known researchers to ...


Virginia Senator Jim Webb's communications director Jessica Smith called me--and sent an e-mail--to say I was wrong to suggest in my post yesterday that Sen. Webb hasn't spent much time considering the request from the Virginia School Boards Association to introduce legislation that would affect how some U.S. school districts carry out the testing of English-language learners this school year. Here's an excerpt from her e-mail message providing additional information: "I told you we hadn’t seen the specific language of the legislation in question—so it’s hard for the Senator to take a firm stand at this ...


It may turn out to be merely a symbolic move, but on behalf of several Virginia school districts resisting a federal mandate to change how they test English-language learners, the Virginia School Boards Association has asked Virginia's senators to introduce legislation in the U.S. Congress that would ensure they would not have to carry out the mandate this school year. Frank E. Barham, the executive director of the Virginia School Boards Association said in a phone interview that earlier this month, his organization sent a letter asking Sen. John Warner, a Republican, and Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat, to ...


A few years ago I read the book The Middle of Everywhere: The World's Refugees Come to Our Town, which described some of the trauma that refugees experience. I was moved by stories from the author, Mary Pipher, who is a therapist, about how she helped refugees to better understand their feelings about past hardships and their new life in Omaha, Neb. She carried out some of this work through informal social interactions because the idea of talk therapy was intimidating or foreign to refugees from some cultures. Once I tutored in English a woman from Afghanistan who had fled ...


Washington Post writer and syndicated columnist Marcela Sanchez's March 2 column about the high number of English-language learners who are U.S.-born is a sign to me that some journalists at mainstream newspapers are taking a closer look at the nuances of issues concerning this population. I still don't see a lot of articles on how to meet the needs of long-term English-language learners, but those such as the one by Ms. Sanchez are steps toward letting the public know more about this group of students. One blog reader pointed out to me that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer also published ...


Once again, there's a bill before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that would enable graduates of U.S. schools who are undocumented immigrants--and who meet certain criteria--to get in-state tuition rates at colleges and universities in their states. Organizations that are advocating for passage of the bill, such as the National Council of La Raza, say that about 65,000 youths who are undocumented are granted high school diplomas in this country each year. The bill also would give undocumented youths who meet certain criteria a path to legalization, so that if they earn a college education, they have ...


Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments