NABE Weekly eNews
Mar. 28, 2013

English learner achievement mixed in big city school systems
Education Week
The experiences of English language learners in some of the nation's largest school systems vary widely when it comes to who teaches them, what types of language instruction programs are available to them, and how well schools do in supporting their progress toward becoming proficient in English. In what may be the most comprehensive data collection to date on ELLs in urban school systems, the Council of the Great City Schools undertook an extensive survey of its member districts to capture a more complete picture of who these students are, how schools support them and how they are performing.More

A level playing field, an equal starting line
U.S. Department of Education
Remarks of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Legislative Summit, March 19. "I'm delighted to see this legislative summit's concentration on education as the linchpin of prosperity and the economic game-changer for Hispanics. Hispanic parents sometimes say to their children: 'An education can't be taken away from you.' As we all know, many things can be taken from us. But knowledge and education are the gifts that keep on giving."More

After federal probe, Hartford, Conn., schools agree to improve services for English language learners
Hartford Courant
Facing a federal civil rights complaint, the Hartford school system has agreed to overhaul services for students whose native language is not English. The voluntary agreement with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights outlines the actions that Hartford must take over the next few years to resolve long-standing accusations that the city schools failed to adequately teach English language learners. Hartford must offer more support in core classes for those students, provide at least 45 to 60 minutes of daily bilingual or English as a Second Language instruction, and consent to federal monitoring, among other steps.More

Mexican-American studies thriving outside regular classrooms
Education Week
Since an Arizona law banned the Mexican American studies program in Tucson's public schools, classes of this sort are beginning to thrive outside of traditional classroom, reports The Los Angeles Times. A group called Librotraficante, which means "book smuggler" in Spanish, has established several "underground" libraries across the country to collect and share Chicano and Latino literature. The group originated as a response to the law banning Mexican-American studies. The group raises money to buy books and open libraries in order to keep Mexican American studies alive. More

Career tips for teaching ESL
By Archita Datta Majumdar
If there was ever any language that came close to being the Esperanto or the universal communicator, then English would be it. The 21st century has seen many path-breaking changes, one of which has been the rapid and deep outreach of English around the world. And with the opening of the global economy, English's importance has seen risen as more and more businesses and nations come together to work in unison. This has given rise to the need for a global English curriculum and trained instructors for teaching English as a second language. No matter how academic it sounds, this holds the key to better business communication in the future.More

How bilingual brains think outside the boxe(s)
The Huffington Post
A recent study compared memory in bilingual and monolingual children. As the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology reports, a team led by Julia Morales Castillo of the University of Granada gathered two sets of children; one monolingual group and one bilingual group; and put the kids through a series of simple tests designed to examine the storage capacity of their working memory — the form of memory that stores items, like numbers in a column or cards on a table, in our immediate sense of the present moment.More

WIDA forges ahead with new English language proficiency test
Education Week
The 31 states that have banded together to create a new, computer-based assessment system for English language learners are getting their first glimpses at the new English language proficiency exam being developed to measure the language demands of the Common Core State Standards. More

Department of Education announces 11 states will receive funding to continue efforts to turn around their lowest-performing schools
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that 11 states will receive funding to continue efforts to turn around their persistently lowest achieving schools through the department's School Improvement Grants program.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

Arizona Senate rejects new plan for English language learners
Verde Independent
Arizona Senators refused to consider the possibility that there may be a better alternative to the current system they have mandated for teaching English. On a voice vote, lawmakers rejected a proposal by Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, to set up a pilot program giving five schools an exemption from existing laws that now require students classified as English language learners to get their training at special and separate four-hour-a-day immersion classes. That leaves the single method in place unless and until lawmakers &mdash or a court — decides otherwise.More

Lawmakers say Nevada governor's program for English language learners inadequate
Las Vegas Sun News
Legislative budget officials attacked Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval's program to set aside $14 million to help students not proficient in English, calling it too little for all of the students who need assistance. Assemblyman Andy Eisen, D-Las Vegas, complained that the proposed formula is unfair to Clark County, which has the majority of students who need the extra help with English. Eisen and others lodged complaints about the program, presented by the state Department of Education.More

WIDA forges ahead with new English language proficiency test
Education Week
The 31 states that have banded together to create a new, computer-based assessment system for English language learners are getting their first glimpses at the new English language proficiency exam being developed to measure the language demands of the Common Core State Standards. Known as ASSETS — Assessment Services Supporting ELs through Technology Systems — the assessment system is being developed on behalf of member states by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium, or WIDA, based at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.More

Report: ESEA reauthorization could be trouble for waiver states
eSchool News
A new report surveying states that have applied for and received No Child Left Behind waivers finds they are worried that reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act could hinder progress painstakingly made in school reform over the past year. The report, released by the Center on Education Policy, notes that last year Education Secretary Arne Duncan began to grant states waivers on key NCLB accountability requirements. The waiver guidelines let states depart from some of NCLB's more strict requirements, such as judging school performance against a goal of 100 percent of students reaching reading and math "proficiency" by 2014, and implementing specific interventions in schools that fall short of performance targets.More

SpanglishBaby: 6 tips to boost your child's bilingual vocabulary
NBC Latino
Roxana A. Soto, a contributor for NBC Latino, writes: "I have nothing against technology when raising bilingual children. Apps, online games and movies in Spanish are a great supplement in this journey — but they're just that, a supplement. It is a mistake to think that just sitting your child in front of the television set to watch a show in Spanish or to let them mouse around with a bilingual computer game will expose them to the kind of vocabulary needed to become proficient in the minority language."More