NABE Weekly eNews
Mar. 21, 2013

Stemming the tide of English learner dropouts
Education Week
English language learners are two times more likely to drop out of school than their peers who are either native English speakers or former ELLs who have become fluent in the language — a trend that, if unabated, will have far-reaching negative consequences, says a new report.More

Texas Seal of Bilingualism and Biliteracy HB 921
Great news for the State of Texas. On Feb. 4, Hon. Roberto R. Alonzo, House Representative for Dallas District 104 filed House Bill 192 — The Texas Seal of Bilingualism and Biliteracy. This happened at the request of the Texas Association for Bilingual Education. If the bill is approved at the end of this legislative session the bill will be implemented during the 2013-2014 school year. All high school students in Texas that demonstrate proficiency in English and another language will be eligible to receive a diploma with the state seal affixed to it. This is a fantastic move for Texas after California and New York already approved the Seal and Illinois is on its way. More

New research shows positive interventions help Latino students confront the 'stereotype threat'
The Huffington Post
Research suggests that the practice of many teachers reflects inherent, covert stereotypes about Latino students. The students face marginalization because of their race or ethnicity and also because of interrelated characteristics like gender, class and sexuality. These structural, organizing factors ultimately determine educational access, opportunity and one's general well being in institutional settings. More

Michigan may drop foreign language rule for schools
The Detroit News
Bailey Ellul is only 6 years old, but she understands the question and knows the answer. "Nikkeru," she says in Japanese when her teacher holds up a picture of a nickel and asks in the same language, "What is this?" "Japanese is good to learn in case a Japanese person wants to talk to me," she said in a math class at Livonia's Hinoki International School in Michigan. The presence of English and Japanese speaking teachers in each class and the chance to get a jump on the competition in a global market were selling points for Bailey's parents.More

Mathematically speaking
Language Magazine
Do you speak math? Not sure what we mean? Well, math can be thought of as a language filled with vocabulary, symbols and sentence structures. These can make things difficult for students who wish to relate math to their everyday language and experiences. For students learning English as their second language, learning the language of mathematics may seem as though they are simultaneously learning yet another language. And like any language, students have to speak math proficiently in order to use it efficiently.More

Hundreds of students hit milestone: English fluency
Marin Independent Journal
For as long as he can remember, 8-year-old Jonathan Vilches has spoken better English than his parents. But according to state standards, his English fell short of what is needed to master academic subjects. That changed when Jonathan was officially reclassified as fluent in English along with 42 classmates at Venetia Valley School in San Rafael, Calif. "It feels really good," Jonathan said.More

Facilitating student academic language use in the classroom
By Erick Herrmann
Look around a teacher's desk; what do you see? Often we find pictures of family and friends, evidence of favorite sport teams or hobbies. We display and make public what is important to us. In the classroom, we hold high regard for literacy and the academic language of our subject areas. It is important, therefore, that we display the language of our content areas for students to access while reading, writing, speaking and listening about the content we are teaching. A print-rich environment is one in which the walls in the classroom are "dripping" with language.More

Dual-language classes interest grows in Natrona County, Wyo.
Casper Star-Tribune
Advocates are allowing Natrona County School District in Wyoming students to learn in a foreign language for part of the day. They have found enough interested parents and educators to go ahead with the program. A group of parents and educators called the Wyoming Dual Language Immersion Steering Committee in January gained permission to gauge community and school interest. Students in the optional program would spend half the day learning subjects such as math and science in a second language and the other half learning skills and reviewing lessons in English.More

Mathematically speaking
Language Magazine
Do you speak math? Not sure what we mean? Well, math can be thought of as a language filled with vocabulary, symbols and sentence structures. These can make things difficult for students who wish to relate math to their everyday language and experiences. More

Bilingual children have a better 'working memory' than monolingual children
Science Daily
A study conducted at the University of Granada and the University of York in Toronto, Canada, has revealed that bilingual children develop a better working memory — which holds, processes and updates information over short periods of time — than monolingual children. More

Survey: Big districts lack strong ELL materials
Education Week
Teachers and administrators working with English language learners in some of the nation's largest school systems believe that much of the instructional material published for ELLs is of poor quality and needs a major upgrade if these students are to succeed in the common standards era.More

Learning Mandarin, with assist from martial arts master
The Press Democrat
Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, Calif., freshman Camden Dahms doesn't usually get to throw punches in class. But recently, Dahms and his first-year Mandarin classmates learned the basic moves of Wushu, a Chinese martial art, from a local expert brought in by Mandarin teacher Denise Long to give students a glimpse of another aspect of Chinese history. "I wanted to expand students' understanding of Chinese culture and invigorate their interest in learning the language," Long said.More

Karen Mulattieri: Students transitioning to English language need support
Suburban Life Media
Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 in Elmhurst, Ill., sponsored an English Language Learners Forum, which was focused on information presented by students and staff, as well as expert panelists who shared information about requirements in Illinois for ELL educational programs and provided examples of how other school districts are serving the population. Some 70 people participated that evening, a mixture of teachers, teacher assistants, parents, administrators and community members.More

State and district NCLB waivers: Good news and bad news
THE Journal
When the No Child Left Behind Act became law in 2002, it provided large sums of money to states for education. The program also had very strict performance requirements, including a 2014 deadline for all students to be proficient in mathematics and language arts. During the past 10 years, concerns about NCLB requirements have mounted among educators, while reauthorization of the legislation has been awaiting congressional action since 2007.More

US Department of Education announces 10 states will receive funding to turn around their lowest-performing schools
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that 10 states will receive funding to turn around their persistently lowest-achieving schools through the Department's School Improvement Grant program. Four of the states will receive awards to run a new competition for previously unfunded schools, and six states will receive continuation funds for the third year of implementing a SIG model. More

Illinois' efforts to close language gap in preschools may not be enough for some
Medill Reports
Back in the 1980s Allen Rosales could be found at the back of his preschool classroom. Not because he was in trouble, but because that is where all the non-English speaking students sat. "The teachers were not trained. They did not know what to do with us, so they put us in the back," said Rosales, 38, the education director at Christopher House, a social service agency that provides early childhood programs for children. "It was a pretty horrifying experience."More

Coming full circle on bilingualism
Los Angeles Times
Cindy Chang, a contributor for the Los Angeles Times, writes: "Mandarin was my first language, but once I started school, I refused to speak it. As the only Asian kid in my class, I felt alien enough. I wasn't about to bust out in another tongue, even in the privacy of my own home. My parents were too laissez-faire to enforce a Chinese-only regimen, as my uncle did with my cousins. We soon switched to English instead of Chinese, forks instead of chopsticks. My mom made spaghetti for my brother and me, stir-fries and soups for my dad."More

What's next for early childhood education in America?
Take Part
President Barack Obama is a believer in early childhood education. He often talked about it on the campaign trail in 2008 and 2012, and in his February State of the Union address, he said, "Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime." The president has yet to lay out a concrete plan on how to achieve this goal, but his message resonated. Congress and state legislatures have jumped onto the early education bandwagon by introducing legislation. A series of bills in Washington and around the country are, fortunately, aimed at educating children before they hit elementary school.More

Education department releases guidance on providing Title IV eligibility for competency-based learned programs
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education issued guidance for higher education institutions that offer competency-based programs in which students learn at their own pace — but that currently do not offer federal student aid. The Department is reminding institutions that they may be eligible to provide title IV funds under the direct assessment provision of the Higher Education Act of 1965, and it has provided step-by-step instructions on how to apply.More