In a move that could prompt major changes in the way states measure the achievement of English-language learners, the U.S. Department of Education is planning to tell states they must each use a consistent yardstick in determining when a child is fluent in English and when that child no longer needs special ELL services. A proposed "interpretation" of the No Child Left Behind Act's Title III — the conduit for most federal funding for ELL programs — says that states must further standardize the criteria they use to report how well such students are learning English.
Top elected official in Virginia's Prince William County asserted last month that an exodus of immigrant families after the county's crackdown on illegal immigration is saving the school system millions of dollars because it has to educate fewer students who are learning English as a second language. But Prince William school officials say that the departure of nearly 760 students this school year from the English for Speakers of Other Languages program has not brought a financial windfall to the school system, contrary to an estimate of $6 million in savings cited by Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large).
High School students Jamira Baniqued and Danae Uria, both 15, appeared to breeze through their first language lesson using an iPod. Texas' Corpus Christi Independent School District officials want to tap into the younger generation's grasp of technology with 50 iPods, made possible with an AT&T $25,000 grant to the Corpus Christi Education Foundation. The iPods, devices that download video and audio from computers, will be used in the district's English as a Second Language classrooms.
Schools are failing to identify struggling Asian-American students under the No Child Left Behind Act and to get them the academic interventions they need, a report says . "Contrary to stereotypes that cast Asian-Americans as model students of academic achievement, many Asian-American students are struggling, failing, and dropping out of schools that ignore their needs," says the report, released last week by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
As Osbaldo Hernandez looked around Washington state's Interlake High School, he saw Hispanic students growing discouraged, starting to skip class and then not going at all. So last fall Hernandez, 17, organized his fellow Hispanic students to raise academic achievement, graduate from high school and go on to college. They did it by encouraging each other to show up for class and turn in homework, by meeting twice a month to research college options and financial aid, and by seeking support from parents, school counselors, and volunteers to navigate the application process. As a result, a number of students on the verge of dropping out are now preparing to graduate and move on to college in the fall.
As the Omaha South High School soccer time prepared to play in the state championship playoffs last week for the first time in the school's history, Latino team members reveled in their chance to contribute to their school's athletic legacy. The increased participation by a number of Latino students (both boys and girls) on soccer teams throughout Nebraska is not only revitalizing statewide high school soccer programs — it's keeping many Latino students in school who were previously at a high risk for dropping out, and has opened the door to numerous college athletic scholarships for students across the state.
Ali Gombo, a fifth-grader at Minnesota's Riverside Central Elementary, was born in Sudan. At a young age, his family fled to Egypt and arrived in Rochester, MN halfway through his fourth-grade year, after a journey marked by war. Based on his experience in the Newcomers program, an all-day program for English-language learners, Gombo wrote a play, entitled "Kindness Wins," depicting the prejudice he's seen and reflecting the ways he has learned to help stop prejudice.
International students, English-language teachers, and Cornell University Campus Club members celebrated the 60th anniversary of the club's International Hospitality Committee with a birthday bash in April. The idea of forming hospitality groups for international students began in 1948, and activities over the years have included suppers for foreign students and friendship groups for international wives, clothing exchanges, and providing temporary housing for emergency arrivals. A program of English language classes began in 1964-65, and the classes have helped international visitors make friends, feel at home, and learn more about Cornell and the surrounding region.
Some Arizona school administrators are unhappy about the formula being used to distribute an extra $40.6 million for English-language learners in the state for next school year to satisfy a court order. They argue that the formula shortchanges some districts that have many ELLs while giving a windfall to others with few such students.
Immigration arrests at homes in Berkeley and Oakland on Tuesday sent a wave of panic among parents in both cities, as authorities mistakenly believed immigration agents were raiding schools. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers were in both cities Tuesday, performing routine fugitive operations, spokeswoman Virginia Kice said. Teams go out virtually every day looking for specific "immigration fugitives," she said.Officers arrested four family members at a Berkeley home and a woman at an Oakland residence. They were not at schools. Yet, within the next few hours, rumors of raids circulated throughout the communities, and in Berkeley, school district officials sent out an automated phone message to all parents notifying them that a Latino family had been picked up and assuring them that the district would "not allow any child to be taken away from the school."