NABE Weekly eNews
Jun. 6, 2013

Closing the vocabulary gap
Language Magazine
One promise of public education is to level the playing field across the socioeconomic and ethnic spectrum. Unfortunately, the system is not fulfilling that promise. The achievement gap has been an issue for decades, and it's getting worse. A recent study released by Stanford University sociologist Sean F. Reardon shows that the gap has widened by 40 percent since the 1960s. The study looked at the disparity in academic achievement between students in the tenth percentile of family income against students in the ninetieth percentile. Standardized test scores were used as a metric, which is fairly common in achievement gap studies. Other metrics include high school dropout rates and college graduation rates.More

Duncan touts advantages of bilingualism
Education Week
His comments aren't likely to ignite a new battle in the bilingual education wars, but U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan over breakfast gave perhaps his clearest statements to date on the benefits of dual-language development and instruction, especially for students who are English-language learners. English learners, he said in a meeting with reporters, come to school with a major asset — their home languages — that educators should capitalize on, especially in the early grades.More

School accountability and equal access to arts education for ELLs
By Beth Crumpler
In many U.S. school districts, ELLs who have not met proficiency on accountability benchmarks in reading and math on state standardized assessments for AYP are being denied access to arts education. Arts education is viewed as a fun, optional elective, while reading and math are considered core academic subjects for AYP. Since these ELL students struggle to meet grade-level expectations, reading and math remediation is often scheduled in lieu of arts education. Denial of the arts for these students is not a solution. Instead, use art as a tool for ELLs.More

State chiefs: Common Core requires flexibility, not a pause
Education Week
The Council of Chief State School Officers is rejecting calls for a moratorium on any high stakes tied to the Common Core State Standards, and is instead suggesting that states have almost all of the power they need to smooth the way for what could be a rocky transition. What the chiefs do want, however, is some flexibility from the U.S. Department of Education and from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan — from No Child Left Behind itself or the waivers already granted — during these next couple of tricky years as the Common Core is fully implemented and common tests come on line. In fact, about three-dozen chiefs or their representatives met with three high-level federal department officials last week in Chicago to talk about these issues.More

Not English-only
Philadelphia Public School Notebook
Philadelphia's foreign-born population is growing, and Mayor Nutter wants to make the city, including its school system, more welcoming to immigrants. But the School District's effort to teach an ever-changing and diverse group of English language learners has been plagued by disorganization, insufficient teacher training and a lack of consistent, effective instruction. Advocates and the District's own evaluations point out that in many schools, these students are marginalized academically and their families effectively shut out of meaningful communication about their children.More

Rising diversity in Sioux Falls, SD, puts strain on ELL education
The Argus Leader
Except for Huron, there is no more diverse public school district in all of South Dakota than Sioux Falls. At last count in October, officials reported that 29.5 percent of the district's roughly 22,000 students were minorities. In Huron, where 41 percent of all its students are children of color, the majority are Karen refugees from Myanmar, or Hispanics. But refugee, immigrant and racial groups in Sioux Falls represent 51 different languages from across the globe that are spoken in homes here.More

Duncan touts advantages of bilingualism
Education Week
His comments aren't likely to ignite a new battle in the bilingual education wars, but U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan over breakfast gave perhaps his clearest statements to date on the benefits of dual-language development and instruction, especially for students who are English language learners. More

How bilinguals switch between languages
Science Daily
Individuals who learn two languages at an early age seem to switch back and forth between separate "sound systems" for each language, according to new research conducted at the University of Arizona.More

North Carolina school a standout for bilingual education
La Prensa
A North Carolina school has become a national model for its bilingual curriculum that offers students of different origins an education in both English and Spanish.More

No Child Left Behind: Pass or fail?
The Hill
If you are a parent of one of the 50 million public schoolchildren in the United States, the odds are your child has taken a standardized test within the past few weeks. The odds also suggest that you took such a test yourself once upon a time, though probably not as early or as often as your kids. You and your children have the federal No Child Left Behind Act to thank for the modern ubiquity of standardized testing. No Child Left Behind is something of a forgotten stepchild now, having been expired without formal reauthorization longer than it was actually in effect.More

Orange County, Fla., schools to eliminate bilingual education for 3rd-graders
Orange County Public Schools in Florida will end its bilingual education program for third-grade students next year. The school district would not talk with Channel 9 about the change, but officials did provide a letter that they said is now going out to parents. The letter says that the change is because the new Common Core State Standards expect English language students to know English as well as their peers.More

What a No Child Left Behind replacement means to Latino students
Over the past few years No Child Left Behind has been the primary and secondary educational program left behind. Now that both the Senate and House are making overtures to re-introduce or replace the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, later called No Child Left Behind by former President George W. Bush, there is renewed hope from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials that Hispanic students and English language learners will no longer be forgotten.More

Making learning fun
The Pampa News
Bilingual Pre-K and kindergarten summer school is underway at Lamar Elementary. This program is required under a Texas Education Code and is open to all English language learners. There are nearly 60 children currently signed up for the summer, and the program is still accepting new enrollments.More

How language works: 'Louder Than Words.' How the mind makes meaning
Digital Journal
Ever wondered how we make sense of language? Ben Berger's book, "Louder Than Words: The New Science of How The Mind Makes Meaning" offers a new approach as to how we come to understand language through a process known as "embodied simulation." There have been many theories put forward as to how we draw meaning out of language. In his book, "Louder Than Words: The New Science of How The Mind Makes Meaning," cognitive scientist, professor Benjamin Bergen Ph.D., explains another significant and well-researched theory known as "embodied simulation." More

In effort to turn around schools, Nevada eyes English language learners
Reno Gazette-Journal
It's early one morning at Jay W. Jeffers Elementary School in Las Vegas, and Lisa Cabrera-Terry's voice is spilling from the first-grade classroom where she's reading about an illiterate grandma who surprises her family by learning to read. Cabrera-Terry takes a fat marker to a sheet of poster paper and adds to a wheel-shaped diagram of words that describe feelings. "If your face beams, you're sooooo happy," she said. "Why are they so happy about grandma reading?" To the untrained eye, the lesson is nothing unusual. But Cabrera-Terry is at a school where 83 percent of incoming kindergartners don't speak English, where you take every picture book page slow and where you tell students exactly what "astonished" means and explicitly that it's a word to describe a feeling.More