As more than 14,000 Roanoke County students head back to school today, some of their parents may be getting ready to go back to the classroom, too. Roanoke County's 2-year-old adult education program, which more than doubled in size in its first year, could well see another jump in enrollment when the fall classes resume Sept. 9. About 134 people took classes preparing them for a GED test, and 158 took classes to help them learn English last year.
Many students in the Buffalo school district speak English as their second language. New statistics show those students are scoring higher on tests than their English-speaking classmates.
<p>When Randi Kay Johnson decided to improve her Spanish this summer she chose to live the language.</p>
<p>"If you want to be a teacher with Spanish as a concentration you need to be able to speak well," she said.</p>
The first three Phoenix school districts to adopt a Spanish-English immersion program more than doubled the percentage of language learners who tested proficient in English in 2007-08 over the previous year, according to the state Department of Education.
A switch in testing for students who are learning English fueled a rebound in scores this year for immigrant-rich schools in Northern Virginia that had failed the year before to meet targets set under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Scores dipped last year when the federal government for the first time required Virginia school systems to give English learners the same reading tests as classmates who speak English fluently, a mandate that local educators vehemently opposed as unfair.
For some students at McDougle Middle School, walking into a history class taught completely in Spanish is not as intimidating as it sounds. It's a normal day for students entering into the new dual language program at the Chapel Hill school. "It's a very popular program," said Neil Pedersen, superintendent of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Pedersen said initially the native English-speaking students learn slower in the dual language program, but they excel by the end of elementary school.
An alarming number of students who need extra help learning English are being let down by the New York City's school system, according to advocates. They are now calling on the state to intervene.
In Meg Lawrence's classroom, children speak Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Thai and Telugu daily. "The key word in teaching is differentiation: Teaching has to be differentiated for different kinds of learners," said Lawrence, one of two English as a Second Language teachers at Chapel Hill's Seawell Elementary School. With students from countries across the globe speaking what she said is about 60 different languages, Lawrence has a lot of differentiating to do.
A measure on the Nov. 4 ballot could make Oregon one of a handful of states with a cap on the amount of time spent teaching English-language learners in their native tongue and could curtail or end two-way language immersion programs such as those in Jackson County's Phoenix-Talent School District. Measure 58 (Initiative Petition 19) would limit the time non-English speakers receive instruction in their native language to one year for grades kindergarten through four, one-and-a-half years for grades five through eight and two years for high school grades
Federal Judge Robert W. Gettleman's decision last week to grant class-action status to Illinois' Elgin Area School District U-46 racial bias lawsuit indicates that a new language is being spoken in civil rights cases. Along with claims of overcrowding and busing minority students, the lawsuit accuses the state's second largest school district of failing to provide adequate services for English language learners.