Promoting good oral language and communication skills is perhaps the most important thing parents, caregivers and educators can do to prepare children to enter kindergarten. Having just completed my 17th year of teaching at Oak Grove Primary School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, with over 800 students in kindergarten and first grade, I see children daily who have been exposed to models of good oral language. Sadly, I also see many who have not had these models and enter kindergarten at a disadvantage.
Of nearly 100,000 parents and children who have come before the courts since 2014, most asking for refuge, judges have issued rulings in at least 32,500 cases, court records show. The majority — 70 percent — ended with deportation orders in absentia, pronounced by judges to empty courtrooms. Immigration courts have long had high rates of in absentia rulings, with one-quarter of all cases resolved by such decisions last year. But the rate for families who came in the border surge from Central America stands out as far higher, according to the Justice Department office that runs the immigration courts and tracked the cases of those families over the past three years.
From an Education Week examination of Florida's push for an Every Student Succeeds Act waiver to a look at efforts to improve teacher training in California, journalists and advocacy groups across the country have produced timely and informative work on English-language learners and the people who serve them. Education Week has provided links to some of the highlights below for time-crunched educators looking for tips and insights on their work with English-language learners. You'll also find links to several stories from the EdWeek archives that may be of interest.
According to figures just released, from 2016 to 2017 the number of underrepresented minorities who took an AP Computer Science exam nearly tripled, from 8,283 to 22,199. The number of girls shot up from 12,642 to 29,708. While significant, this increase was not enough for those two groups to reach parity. Only 1 in 5 of those taking AP CS last year were underrepresented minorities and about 1 in 4 were women.
Many refugee students are new to American customs and pastimes — including summer camp. Now, a non-profit in Pittsburgh is offering them free summer camp as an introduction to American culture.
The team of Afghan girls whose efforts to reach the United States for an international robotics competition captivated people around the world, left the event with a silver medal for "courageous achievement," with judges applauding the group's "can-do attitude."
The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill that would allow school systems to bring back bilingual education, potentially upending a 15-year-old voter referendum that widely banned school systems from teaching students academic courses in their native language. But bringing back bilingual education is far from a done deal. The Senate vote followed passage of a similar bill last month by the House. Now, those two bills are headed to a conference committee to iron out differences.
Moving countries generally means learning a new language, making new connections and, for children, learning new ways of playing. For kids from immigrant families who are settling in Canada, play can be a way to fit in and adapt to a new home. But some parents worry that these new ways of playing mean their children are losing touch with their family's cultural heritage.
First Book, the largest U.S. educational network exclusively serving kids in need, has announced more resources to narrow the digital divide. The availability of 3,000 new tablets on its marketplace fulfills a demand of educators for more tools, such as e-books and learning games, and expands the use of devices in low-income communities.
For two years, The International High School at Langley Park (IHSLP), led by 32 year-old Principal Carlos Beato, has exclusively served immigrant and refugee students with a focus on English language learning. In its first year of existence, 98% of students improved on ESL scores — the highest growth for any high school in Prince George's County. That's especially impressive considering the students’ socioeconomic backgrounds: 99% of students qualify for free or reduced meals.