Governor Deval Patrick's recent Readiness Project report has received cautious praise for being rich in new and bold ideas. But for at least one group of students whose persistent failure all but defines the achievement gap, the Readiness Project is virtually silent. The administration has offered no ideas to help English Language Learner students who need help most urgently. An educational policy of benign neglect is no policy at all and simply will not do.
When students across Arizona return to school this month, many of their grade levels will be separated by language ability. Students who speak English will go in one classroom; those who don't, to another. The non-English-speakers will stay in those specialized classrooms, where they will receive an intense four hours of English training, until they can pass the state's language exam.
After two full years of sweeping student-achievement reforms, Denver Public Schools recorded "historic" gains in the state's student assessment tests. Denver posted the biggest increases in math and reading proficiency among the state's largest districts in this year's Colorado Student Assessment Program. District officials say the gains are even more impressive because in Denver about 43 percent of the students who took the test in English are English language learners.
The message was an unequivocal "¡Sí, se puede!" as the first-ever Idaho Summit on Educational Excellence About Hispanic Students convened July 24 and 25 at Boise State University. Through workshops and presentations from state leaders in education, the summit (which took eight months of planning) examined three issues: closing the achievement gap between Latino students and their peers, drop-out prevention and retention, and access to higher education.
Nika and Salome Salamadze vividly remember coming to Canada two years ago from the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Now their memories won't just be their own. The brother and sister, 11 and 12 respectively, have made them into a book, which they're writing in English and Georgian and illustrating. They're part of a club of students aged seven to 14 who are spending 10 days writing dual-language books at their local library, which will then be available for the public to check out.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is proposing a laundry list of educational benefits that would reach from birth to college. His rival, Republican John McCain, plans to focus on enabling local educational initiatives and expanding virtual learning.
More than 72,000 students in public schools in Connecticut in the 2007-08 school year had a dominant language other than English. Thirty thousand of them, who speak 129 different languages, fall into what state and area educators consider one of the most pressing challenges for schools in the future.
José Martí Child Development Center in Seattle is a unique school on the cutting edge of early childhood education. Its bilingual and multicultural programs are now considered a model for other schools across the nation. Although José Martí CDC has been offering bilingual childcare since the early 1970s, it is with the recent re-accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children that it has received such high recognition for its programs. The school was the first accredited bilingual early-learning program on the West Coast.
Texas will probably appeal a court ruling mandating a new language program for an estimated 140,000 junior high and high school students who don't have command of the English language, state officials said Monday. Legislative leaders said curriculum improvements for that group of mostly Hispanic students are probably on the way regardless of the appeal.
Advancing efforts to improve the educational achievement of the fastest-growing student population in the nation's schools was the focus of a symposium co-sponsored by ETS and the National Council of La Raza in January, according to Michael T. Nettles, ETS senior vice president of policy evaluation and research, and Delia Pompa, vice president of education for the National Council of La Raza.