NABE Weekly eNews
Apr. 10, 2014

For Latino parents, bilingual classrooms aren't just about language
Boise State Public Radio
Right now, across the country, parents are in the midst of trying to get their children enrolled in bilingual classrooms for next September. The motivation is usually straightforward. Parents want their kids to learn a foreign language. The thinking is that a second language will bring significant cultural and economic advantages. But for many Latino parents (and others as well) there is something more at play; namely, it can feel like the family language is at stake. (The loss of Spanish-language fluency among native-born Latinos is a widespread phenomenon.) Bilingual classrooms are seen as a way of ensuring children will be able to read, write and speak Spanish.More

Districts' stringent criteria can delay reclassifying English learners
English learners have been a subject of policy concern in California since the early 1970s. The needs of these students — who make up about 25 percent of the state's public school students today — are well documented. On a host of measures, they lag behind their English-speaking peers. However, English learners who have been reclassified as fluent English speakers perform very well, sometimes even surpassing the achievements of native English speakers. A longstanding question for policymakers and educators is how to more quickly transition English learners to English proficiency.More

Hearing aids in children associated with improved speech, language abilities
Medical News Today
Fitting children with mild to severe hearing loss with hearing aids appears to be associated with better speech and language development. Poor communication skills at the end of the preschool years can affect social, academic and work success later in life. Hearing loss in childhood is a contributor to poor speech and language development. HAs can enhance speech and language development.More

Mandatory training tailors teaching to non-English speakers
The Reading Advocate
When 61 percent of Massachusetts voters in 2002 elected to have all students learn core subjects in English, the new law immediately changed bilingual education across the state. The landmark vote abolished the traditional bilingual model of education, whereby students were slowly acclimated to their new language, and fully immersed them in English, limiting exposure to their native tongue.More

Dual-language classrooms at work in 3 Worcester, Mass., schools
The Telegram
The math lesson in Nicole Girouard's third-grade classroom at Chandler Magnet School in Massachusetts was fairly typical. Nine students sat at a table with Girouard comparing fractions on their number lines; three used computer stations and five worked at another table. Around the room, however, were hints of what makes the class special. Cognates — words that come from the same family — were listed in one spot: título and title, sedimentary rock and rocas sedimentarias. Later, the same 17 children lined up and headed next door to Sandra Lozko's room. She met them at the door and greeted them as they crossed from English to Spanish.More

District not meeting federal requirements for English learners
The Santa Clara Weekly
SCUSD failed to meet federal Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives measures for English learners — children who aren't fluent in English when they enter school — for four consecutive years, Assistant Superintendent Tanya Fischer reported at Santa Clara Unified board meeting. Way back in the presidential administration of Lyndon Johnson, congress passed the 1968 Bilingual Education Act. In 2001, it was replaced by the English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement and Academic Achievement Act, otherwise known as Title III of No Child Left Behind Act. Title III is specifically concerned with English learners.More

Report: Schools aren't meeting needs of students from immigrant families
Georgia's public high schools and colleges aren't meeting the needs of students from immigrant families. That's according to a recent report from the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. The report examines how children of immigrants fare in Georgia's education and workforce preparation systems. Michael Fix, the Migration Policy Institute's CEO, says there's room for improvement. "I think our core finding is that Georgia is very much a laboratory for education reform, but in many cases that reform circumvents the immigrant populations, in particularly English language learners," Fix says.More

Beyond proficiency: How early English exposure influences non-native speakers
Non-native speakers exposed to English before moving to America are more likely to use the language in their daily lives in the United States, according to a report led by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Such early exposure — through newspapers, books, TV and classes as well as traveling — may help determine an immigrant's socioeconomic mobility, as English proficiency is strongly tied to cultural and social assimilation. The report, featured in the journal Social Science Research, is one of the first to examine English proficiency among immigrants before moving to the United States.More

California Latino Caucus backs bilingual education, paid sick days
The Sacramento Bee
Changes to California's health care, education and labor laws are among the bills the Legislature's Latino Caucus will prioritize this year. Statistics show Latinos are more likely than other Californians to live in poverty, lack health insurance and attain little formal education, caucus chair Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, said in announcing the group's priorities Wednesday. "Fighting to turn these numbers around is why most of us got into politics and are now in the Legislature. California as a state cannot succeed unless we educate, employ and keep healthy the fastest growing sector of our work force, which is the Latino community," Lara said.More

Report: Schools aren't meeting needs of students from immigrant families
Georgia's public high schools and colleges aren't meeting the needs of students from immigrant families. That's according to a recent report from the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. More

From second language learning to bilingualism in schools
Psychology Today
We are many who feel that education should help children and adolescents acquire a second or third language while retaining their first language. Education should also encourage the active use of those languages, if at all possible. More

Dual-language learning for all students is visionary
The Voice of Tucson
Being visionary didn't work for Arizona. Being reactionary was a bust, too. It's time to apply some hard-nosed realism to the fact that our schools are not serving a population of kids who are fast becoming the majority of K-12 students.More

7 great English apps for your classroom
eSchool News
Apps for STEM education top many educators' lists today. And while STEM is a very important part of classroom education, it is not the only part. As states work to implement the Common Core State Standards, English and language arts education has become an important focus. To help expand your access to English resources, eSchool News has compiled a list of English apps for students across the K-12 age spectrum.More

Teachers, parents protest end of bilingual program
The Boston Globe
As the state moves to take over the Dever Elementary School in Dorchester, many teachers and parents are protesting a plan to scrap a popular program that aims to make students fluent in both English and Spanish. State officials say the dual-language program played a major role in the Dever's persistently low test scores that caused it to slide into receivership and they believe that an English-only approach to instruction is the best way to boost achievement. The recommendation delivers a setback for the Boston school system as it prepares a major expansion of dual-language schools to accommodate demand by families who are either native speakers of English or another language. It also is rekindling a debate about the extent to which a language other than English should be used in the teaching of math, science and other academic subjects.More

Norwich, Vt., teacher helps newcomers navigate English
The Associated Press via The Washington Times
As an adult education English language teacher, Kathleen Pounch has learned she has to be ready for anything — even the question "What does 'Oh man!' mean?" A student asked the question because her own child kept using the American expression “for everything," Pounch said. "They put it in their translators, and it doesn't translate," Pounch said, referring to digital translators many English language students use to compare English words to comparable words in native languages.More