The New York City school district has rolled out what is believed to be the first academic diagnostic test in the country designed solely for English-language learners who have missed years of schooling. The district has identified 15,500 out of its 148,000 English-language learners who are "students with interrupted formal education," or SIFE. That subset of ELLs has grown rapidly over the past decade, with about 3,000 to 5,000 students entering the school system each school year.
Minneapolis schools want to pull the plug on its participation in the Twin Cities' first desegregation district, charging it isn't succeeding in its lofty goals. Some say such a move has the potential to cripple the two-decade effort to bring more racial balance to Twin Cities schools.
In a cheery classroom decorated with posters exhorting students to "Dive into a Good Book," four first-graders, who are struggling to read, recited words ending with the "ang" sound — bang, rang, sang, fang, gang. The Language Arts Assistance Program at Foothill Ranch Elementary School has helped a generation of struggling youngsters in this Orange County suburb become skilled readers. But it, along with sports teams, small classes and school librarians, may vanish next year as Saddleback Valley Unified School District officials trim $13 million in spending for the upcoming school year.
Despite learning that Illinois public schools could receive as much as $3 billion in federal stimulus aid, many of the region's top educators face the next budget cycle as grimly as children in line at a vaccine clinic. They appreciate the influx of money — which is to start flowing within 40 days — and say it could delay difficult cuts. But they don't know how much they will receive or what strings may be attached, and at any rate, the relief will be short-lived.
The tough economy has taken its toll on many schools. For the Oakridge School in Oakridge, Oregon, cutting the school week to four days has been a cost cutting measure. Yet, how are working parents supposed to deal with this? Tony Cox talks with Donald Kordosky, the superintendent of the Oakridge School, and Carol Miller, a parent of a student at the school.
In her Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "I'm relying on the good work of my colleagues over at Politics K-12 to understand what parts of the stimulus package may be used to benefit English-language learners. Michele McNeil's post today explains how school districts may tap into an innovation fund of $650 million that is part of the $5 billion in money from the state stabilization fund that will go to the U.S. Department of Education and Arne Duncan for innovation and incentive grants."
El Paso bilingual educators were among dozens from across Texas who marched last week through downtown Austin and gathered at the Capitol to urge lawmakers to improve bilingual education in public schools. The Texas Association for Bilingual Education called on lawmakers to support several legislative proposals they said would help students whose first language is not English to succeed in school.
There are more than 7,000 languages in the world, and if statistics hold, two weeks from now, there will be one less. That's the rate at which languages disappear. And each time a language disappears, a part of history — a subtle way of thinking — vanishes too. A new documentary called <em>The Linguists</em>, airing Thursday on PBS, follows ethnographers David Harrison and Greg Anderson as they race to document endangered languages in some of the most remote corners of the world.
In the ESL classroom at Johnston Elementary, assistant Stephanie Davis helps a kindergartner from Ghana sound out letters. On the other side of the room, a teacher works on reading with a second-grader from Mexico and another from Russia. And teacher Coert Ambrosino teaches a group of kindergartners with Mexican and Ukrainian backgrounds about animals. Scenes like these are taking place at every public school in North Carolina's Buncombe County as the population of students with English as their second language continues to grow at a rapid pace. In October, there were 2,125 such students in the school system — an increase of more than 120 percent over the course of five years.
Dayana Rodrigues carries a bucket of cleaning solutions and a vacuum with her to work. She used to clean houses to pay for college. Now, she is a career maid who speaks three languages. Rodrigues, 20, graduated in the top 5 percent of her high school class in 2007 and completed nursing prerequisites at Horry-Georgetown Technical College — all As and one B. In January, the college refused to re-enroll the returning student because she is an undocumented immigrant. "You know it's not personal," she said. "But it is."