TESOL English Language Bulletin
July 27, 2011

TESOL opposes State and Local Funding Flexibility Act
TESOL
TESOL Executive Director Rosa Aronson recently issued a statement opposing the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act (HR 2445). The bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to "provide states and school districts authority to use federal funds in an unrestricted manner that could come at the expense of English language learners and low-income students." Dr. Aronson points out that this bill would "[undermine] the original purpose and spirit of ESEA," and "would have a devastating impact on ELLs in particular, who are still chronically underserved." TESOL's statement was later picked up by Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Texas, who strongly opposes the bill. Read the full text of Dr. Aronson's statement here. Read the full text of Representative Hinojosa's statement here.More

TESOL supports the English Learning and Innovation Act
TESOL
Last month, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., introduced the English Learning and Innovation Act (S. 1158), a bill that would provide additional resources to support ESL instruction and education opportunities for ELLs. If enacted, the bill would create two targeted grant programs: Innovation Grants, to provide resources to test innovative approaches and develop effective education programs to foster ELL achievement, and Capacity-Building Grants, to assist states that have experienced a significant increase in the number of ELLs and who do not have a history of working with these students. To read more about the English Learning and Innovation Act, click here. To read TESOL's letter of support, click here.More

More states defying federal government on education law
The Associated Press via ABC News
At least three states are vowing to ignore the latest requirements under the No Child Left Behind law in an act of defiance against the federal government that demonstrates their growing frustration over an education program they say sets unrealistic benchmarks for schools. The law sets a goal of having 100 percent of students proficient in math and reading by 2014, but states were allowed to establish how much schools must improve each year. Many states saved the biggest leaps for the final years, anticipating the law would be changed. More

Common-core writers craft curriculum criteria
Education Week (subscription)
New guidelines on crafting curriculum materials for the common standards in English/language arts are reigniting debate about how to ensure a marketplace of good instructional materials for the new standards without crossing the line into telling teachers how to teach. The focal point of the conversations is a set of "publishers' criteria" issued recently by the two lead writers of the English/language arts section of the common standards, which have been adopted by all but five states. More

Flaws in application of language test scores
The Australian
Australia: Now University of Melbourne graduate school of education lecturer Kieran O'Loughlin is calling for a change in selection policy and procedures across the country on the basis of his recent work on how the International English Language Testing System was used. "Test scores are used in isolation from other considerations; IELTS itself recommends the scores be looked at in the context of the student's language learning background: how long they have been learning or whether they have studied a course in English before," Dr. O'Loughlin said.More

Federal study to assess San Diego program for English learners
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Researchers have launched a $2.6 million federally funded project to assess a writing program for English language learners that was developed by a North County school district 21 years ago. The WRITE program focuses on showing English learners how to think critically, use academic language and write in different genres of narrative and expository writing. The goal is to prepare students to gain academic proficiency in English and be prepared for the rigors of college-level writing. More

Brown signs California Dream Act
Los Angeles Times
Following through on a campaign promise, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law easing access to privately funded financial aid for undocumented college students. He also signaled that he was likely to back a more controversial measure allowing those students to seek state-funded tuition aid in the future.More

Carnegie Mellon students develop programs to help high schoolers learn English
THE Journal
A small team of Carnegie Mellon University students is nearing the end of a 10-week internship focused on developing programs that can be used by high school students to improve their English skills. The students are part of a program called the innovative Student Technology Experience, which is organized by the TechBridgeWorld research group in the university's Robotics Institute. More

Program helps students learn English
The Bloomington Pantagraph
Salvador Rodriguez, 9, of Bloomington, Ind., loved going to the zoo during a summer school field trip. He made a poster about it, and spoke perfect English explaining what he liked best.More

Non-native English speakers inspire linguistics archive
Voice of America
Database of accented English speech draws teachers, linguists and actors. Everyone speaks English a little differently, especially if it is not your first language. It was these unique nuances of non-native English speakers which inspired linguistics professor Steven Weinberger to create the Speech Accent Archive at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.More

Preparing English teachers
The Malaysia Star
Malaysia : Five students were recently awarded the Tun Dr. Mahathir Internship Scheme, sponsored by ELS Language Centers. University Teknologi Malaysia students Alia Diyana Hosni and Siti Nur Farahin Hamdan, UNISEL student Farahani Mohd Zakaria, University Malaya student G. Devan and University Teknologi Mara student Mohammad Khairul Firdaos Fadzil were selected based on their strong academic qualifications, participation in extracurricular activities and recommendation by their university lecturers as well as through interviews with members of the review committee.More

Thinking right: Coaching a wave of Chinese students for college in America
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Last November, the Institute of International Education announced that there were now almost 130,000 Chinese students studying on American campuses, making them the largest international contingent. While this represents a significant cash flow out of China, Beijing supports this trend because the Chinese economy is in desperate need of globally educated Chinese.More

Fewer immigrants in Mississippi honing their English skills
Jackson Clarion Ledger
At 16, Israel Moshan left his parents' home in Mexico for the United States, hoping to find a job. The only person he knew was his cousin who traveled with him. He relied on a translator to help him find a job and purchase necessities. "In Mexico, I learned how to say 'yes' and 'no'," he said. "That's it." Colleagues at the farm where he worked taught him some English words. He would listen to others speak in English and try to remember what he heard.More

Readers: Here's how educators really spend their summers
eSchool News
Though barbeques and traveling are still on educators' summer "to-do" lists, many go above-and-beyond by reflecting and implementing improvements, getting professional development and even creating resource spreadsheets for themselves and for their peers. More

Web restrictions draw ire of some educators
USA Today
Some educators say banned websites pose as great a threat to kids' education and intellectual freedom as book banning. Many schools use "brute force" tools that block good educational sites, says Karen Cator, the U.S. Department of Education's director of educational technology. Cator says she has urged schools to use more sophisticated, updated software and to educate themselves on the actual filtering rules, which are less restrictive than many educators believe. More

Study: Bilingualism appears to boost young children's mental abilities
Cornell Chronicle Online
When young children learn a second language, it strengthens their ability to pay attention to the right stuff, reports a new Cornell study. "Our study showed that bilingualism in young children strengthens what is known as executive attention, which helps orient individuals in the sea of information coming in," said Sujin Yang, Ph.D., lead author and now a professor at Tyndale University College in Canada.More