NABE Weekly eNews
Mar. 6, 2014

Academic conversation develops deep comprehension: Specific procedures and assessment
By: David Irwin
Academic conversation is a strategy that increases student engagement and comprehension in content topics. It is ideal for English learners because it gives them a safe environment to practice academic English with a peer who has more mastery. In the third part of this three-part series, we'll discuss specific procedures as well as an assessment of the entire conversation.More

Bill to establish bilingual seal awaits governor's signature
The Grant County Beat
Students who are proficient in speaking and writing in more than one language will now be rewarded for their excellence when they graduate. House Bill 330 "Diploma Seal of Bilingualism," sponsored by House Majority Leader, Rick Miera, D-Bernalillo-11, establishes a State Seal of Bilingualism-Biliteracy on New Mexico Diplomas of Excellence. It honors graduates who are proficient in speaking and writing a language other than English.More

Cutting to the Common Core: Changing the playing field
Language Magazine
The transition to the Common Core State Standards offers a window of opportunity to fortify what and how we teach. It also provides a chance to reflect on how our most marginalized students most effectively learn the most difficult knowledge and skills. The CCSS challenge us to teach students much more than loosely connected pieces of knowledge and test-taking skills. They offer an opportunity to equip diverse students with deeper understandings of content, more expert thinking skills, and stronger communication skills. They offer a rare opportunity, if we seize it, to make some major shifts in moving from surface-level transmission and memorization models to approaches that richly cultivate the cognitive and communicative potentials of every student.More

English language learners and academic language
Helping English language learners develop proficiency in academic language has always been a priority for K-12 educators, and its importance has only been heightened with the advent of the Common Core. To better understand academic language, let's examine the distinction between two terms introduced by Jim Cummins, basic interpersonal communicative skills and cognitive academic language proficiency, that have impacted both policy and practices in second language education.More

EPISD approves recommendations for expanded dual-language instruction
El Paso Times
El Paso Independent School District will pursue a plan to expand dual-language instruction across all campuses beginning with Pre-K students next fall after the board of managers on Tuesday approved a set of recommendations delivered by a special task force of community members. The recommendations also called for students in dual-language programs at nine elementary schools to continue receiving that instruction at middle schools in their current feeder patterns next year. And the district will undertake a review of non-dual language programs provided to English language learners.More

Opportunity for all: Supporting children and youth
The President's Budget via NABE
A Roadmap for Growth, Opportunity and Fiscal Responsibility: The President's Budget provides a roadmap for accelerating economic growth, expanding opportunity for all Americans and ensuring fiscal responsibility. It invests in infrastructure, job training, preschool, and pro-work tax cuts, while reducing deficits through health, tax and immigration reform.More

Language supports for English learners ready for smarter balanced field tests
Education Week
In the coming weeks, thousands of students across the country will be sitting down to test drive the new Common Core aligned assessments in reading and English/language arts. And for many students who are English language learners, the tests they encounter could be a whole lot different from what they are accustomed to seeing on their state assessments. That's why the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has made training tests available on its website so that students, teachers and even parents can get a chance to experiment with the language-support features before field testing actually gets underway.More

Q-and-A: Will classroom technology help language learners?
New America Media
What are some of the challenges facing ELL students when it comes to developing literacy? A lot of ELLs struggle with literacy in general. They lack the vocabulary and the background knowledge. They might have the conversational English but maybe they can't read academic English. So, if they can't read informational texts, then they are missing out on learning.More

School district to launch dual-immersion kindergarten
Contra Costa Times
Starting next fall, 60 kindergarten students at Bancroft Elementary may learn to read and write in both English and Spanish in a Mt. Diablo school district dual-immersion program in California. The district is accepting applications from parents of English-speaking, Spanish-speaking and bilingual children interested in enrolling in the program, which will include one Spanish classroom and one English classroom. Students will alternate between classes, with the goal of being able to speak and read both languages fluently.More

Language supports for English learners ready for smarter balanced field tests
Education Week
In the coming weeks, thousands of students across the country will be sitting down to test drive the new Common Core aligned assessments in reading and English/language arts.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

Stanford research shows long-run benefit of English instruction
Stanford News
Great English teachers boost their students' achievements in math, a very different subject, according to Stanford researchers. The researchers found that students of good language arts teachers had higher than expected math scores in subsequent years — a crossover effect. On the other hand, good math teachers had only small long-term effects on English scores. More

Should California reinstate bilingual education?
Los Angeles Times
Patt Morrison, a contributor for Los Angeles Times, writes: "If the name 'Ron Unz' is ringing bells in your brain, it may be because of his initiative to raise California's minimum wage to $12 an hour. But when I interviewed him for my 'Patt Morrison Asks' column, the subject of another initiative of his crafting came up too: Proposition 227, which 16 years ago effectively ended bilingual education as it was practiced in California, replacing it with English immersion."More

The history of Common Core State Standards
U.S. News & World Report
For some, the Common Core State Standards seemed to come from nowhere, and appeared to be a sneaky attack on states' rights to control local education. But for those involved in writing the standards, it was nothing short of an exhaustive and collaborative years-long effort aimed at raising the achievement levels of students across the country.More

New funding law puts focus on translation for non-English speakers
School districts with high concentrations of English learner students are facing a new challenge in ensuring that parents who need language translation are informed of their role under the funding formula for schools. California's new Local Control Funding Formula emphasizes the importance of parental involvement in guiding school spending decisions. Parent advocates and district employees alike say they see the new emphasis as an opportunity to expand and deepen the involvement of parents in ways that haven't happened before. Some parents, however, don't think the efforts are going far enough.More