NABE Weekly eNews
Jul. 25, 2013

House passes partisan NCLB rewrite, but rocky road still ahead
Education Week
After two days of partisan debate on an issue that used to bring Democrats and Republicans together in a kumbaya chorus, the House of Representatives passed a GOP-only reauthorization of the long-stalled No Child Left Behind Act. The bill, approved 221-207, with no Democratic support, would maintain the NCLB law's signature testing schedule and its practice of breaking out student-achievement data by particular groups of students (such as English language learners and students in special education).More

Ability to learn new words based on efficient communication between brain areas that control movement and hearing
King's College London via Science Daily
For the first time scientists have identified how a pathway in the brain which is unique to humans allows us to learn new words. The average adult's vocabulary consists of about 30,000 words. This ability seems unique to humans as even the species closest to us — chimps — manage to learn no more than 100. It has long been believed that language learning depends on the integration of hearing and repeating words but the neural mechanisms behind learning new words remained unclear.More

English main language for Hispanic Americans
ABC News
A new study by the Pew Hispanic Center reveals that more Latinos are learning and using English as their primary language, as the number of Latinos in the United States who consume their news in English continues to grow. In 2012, 82 percent of Hispanic adults consumed news in English, up from 78 percent in 2006. Meanwhile the number who consumed news in Spanish declined from 78 percent to 68 percent in those same years. Also on the decline are the number who receive their news in both languages — 50 percent in 2012, from 57 percent in 2010.More

Struggling with the past tense: Verbal acquisition of -ed forms following monopthongs in verbs
By Beth Crumpler
We are continuing the series on ELL pronunciation struggles with the past tense -ed. In this third part of the series, we are addressing verbal fluency of past tense -ed following monophthongs, one vowel sound in one syllable. Using -ed after a monophthong is much easier than when it comes after a diphthong. Regardless of which type of vowels -ed follows, students need to still understand how to pronounce them.More

ELLs and the debate over the No Child Left Behind rewrite
Education Week
The full U.S. House of Representatives is edging ever so much closer to voting on a Republican-written overhaul of the Elementary Secondary and Education Act, and a large coalition of education and advocacy organizations are urging members of Congress to reject it on the grounds that English-language learners and Hispanic students would be irreparably harmed by its passage.More

Singing helps students tune into a foreign language
Springer Science Business Media via ScienceDaily
Singing in a foreign language can significantly improve learning how to speak it, according to a new study published in Springer's journal Memory & Cognition. 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

Biliteracy would get federal boost in proposed legislation
Education Week
States seeking to grant special recognition to their multilingual high school graduates would get a big boost from the federal government under new legislation introduced by a California congresswoman.More

Language wars: Should Spanish-speaking students be taught in English only?
There's long been debate about bilingual education in the United States and what's the most effective way to make sure students are proficient in academics in the English language. Special correspondent John Tulenko reports on a Connecticut school district that's taking a different road, one that may yield results, but is sparking a battle over its approach.More

Federal cuts force Impact Aid districts to cut staff, close schools
Education Week
It's been almost five months since Congress slashed education spending through across-the-board cuts known as "sequestration," which were intended to force a still completely elusive, long-term bipartisan budget deficit-reduction deal. The school districts that became the poster children for these cuts? The ones that get money from the $1.2 billion Impact Aid program, which helps districts that have a big federal presence (such as a military base or an American Indian reservation nearby) make up for lost tax revenue. About 1,200 districts receive those funds, and a small handful rely on them heavily.More

House GOP pushes through curbs on No Child Left Behind
The Christian Science Monitor
Six years after Congress was supposed to reauthorize the federal No Child Left Behind education law, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill — with no Democratic support — that would roll back much of the law's accountability requirements and lock in lower levels of education funding. Supporters of HR 5, the Student Success Act, say it restores flexibility to local school districts, gives broader choice to parents, and encourages innovation by scaling back the federal footprint. Opponents say it would reverse longstanding efforts to improve education, particularly for the most disadvantaged groups of children.More

Sioux City schools adds legislative focus on non-English-speaking students
Sioux City Journal
Students who don't speak English as their primary language could get a push for more academic attention from the state if the Sioux City school district gets its way. The school board voted to drop charter school regulations from its list of legislative priorities, and instead opted to focus on English language learners. The priorities will be sent to the Iowa Association of School Boards, which will lobby lawmakers when the legislative session resumes.More

Funding boost for English language learners prompts some backlash
Las Vegas Sun
Gov. Brian Sandoval called it historic. State Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis called it momentous. No state legislator voted against it. The Clark County School Board unanimously approved it. But for some, the state's $50 million in new spending for English language learners smacks of special treatment and seems like an unjust, unfair burden on taxpayers who must subsidize the education of a select group of outsiders. These views — expressed in newspaper comment sections and on call-in radio shows — dramatically differ from the bipartisan comity among elected officials, representing a backlash to the unanimous opinions of the political and education officials who pushed the bill at the Legislature.More

Singing helps students tune into a foreign language
Springer Science Business Media via ScienceDaily
Singing in a foreign language can significantly improve learning how to speak it, according to a new study published in Springer's journal Memory & Cognition. Adults who listened to short Hungarian phrases and then sang them back performed better than those who spoke the phrases, researchers at the University of Edinburgh's Reid School of Music found. People who sang the phrases back also fared better than those who repeated the phrases by speaking them rhythmically.More