In seven years as chief executive of Chicago public schools, Arne Duncan has supported a range of measures to shake up the status quo in urban education, including new charter schools, performance pay, and tough accountability for struggling schools. But he has also gained a reputation for reaching out to the teachers union and the community, helping to neutralize some potential critics and win allies.
Before being named President-elect Barack Obama's Education secretary, Arne Duncan ran Chicago schools for seven years. Chester Finn, Jr., president of Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based, education think tank, offers his insight on the appointment.
In her Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "I have only one clue to offer about what kind of policies Arne Duncan, who has been nominated as the secretary of education for President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet, might favor for English-language learners. As the superintendent of Chicago Public Schools, he has argued that English-language learners should have a separate test other than the state's regular reading and math tests for ELLs."
Tevin Bradley ran with the wrong crowd, started doing drugs when he was 14 and picked fights so frequently that he was kicked out of a continuation school for troubled teens. So when the 17-year-old received his high school diploma Saturday, it symbolized not only academic achievement but also a radical life change. Bradley was among more than 170 teenagers who completed their high school education through alternative programs run by the Los Angeles County Office of Education.
In this commentary, an ELL director writes, "English Language Learner education in the elementary grades is about using the native language to facilitate and accelerate the learning of English as a second language. To facilitate the learning not only of the English needed to function in society, but also the academic one, the one that allows students to be successful learners once they transition into general education, and the one that allows them to graduate from high school and attend college."
Since the war in Iraq began in 2003, an estimated 4.7 million Iraqis have fled their homes, scattering within the country and beyond. In mid-2007, the U.S. government began resettling Iraqi refugees in this country, and Atlanta is a prime destination for them. Last year, NPR introduced its audience to a single mother of three who heads one of the first refugee families to arrive in Atlanta. A year later, Bothinaa Mohammed remains happy to be in U.S., but the transition hasn't been easy.
Students in Puerto Rico's public schools are faring poorly in mathematics compared with their peers in the 50 states or even large urban districts, according to results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress released last week. Those results from the commonwealth were reported in a complicated format because of concerns about the validity of the scores the 4th and 8th graders received on the 500-point scale normally used in NAEP reports.
When her 3-year-old son begs for pizza, or when her family is shivering through yet another night in the Mexican highlands, those are the moments when Rosario Araujo misses America the most. Just three months ago, Araujo and her husband, José Zavala, were still living comfortably, though illegally, as migrant workers in Gilbert. But when work dried up in the economic crisis, they were forced to head south. The family is part of a small but growing number of Mexican migrants who are heading home because of the U.S. recession and finding Mexico is barely prepared to receive them.
Amera Issa excitedly raises her hand to answer almost every question her teacher asks. Amazing, considering the 8-year-old second-grader at Century Elementary in Grand Forks is new to the English language. Issa is a Somali English Language Learner and a refugee. Her family came here from Syria after a short stay in Atlanta, Ga., where she attended school for the first time. The 11 children in her family are spread out around the world but safe from the turmoil they once faced. In Grand Forks, the number of ELL students has increased by about 40 from last year, to about 110, and is still growing.
According to a survey by The German Marshall Fund, both Americans and Europeans are anxious most of all about illegal immigrants who represent only a small portion of the whole population. Large majorities of both Europeans and Americans believe immigrants should have knowledge of the national language and have a job offer before being admitted into their countries. But Americans and Europeans differ on solutions.