Students are often attuned to current events and world affairs. Debating topics relevant to the news can be a high-interest way to engage English language learners in academic discourse that matters to them while building language skills. Structured debate also gives students opportunities to disagree politely without attacking individuals for their opinions -- a useful life skill.
A bill that would allow students learning English to spend two hours of their school day focusing solely on learning the language, rather than four hours, appears to be dead at the State Capitol. The bill has support from a diverse coalition of business and education groups, including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Arizona Education Association, the Arizona Charter School Association and the Arizona School Board Association, which say the change would help improve the dismal outcome for Arizona's English-language learners. However, Arizona Senate President Steve Yarbrough has single-handedly stalled the bill. The Arizona Capitol Times reported Monday that Yarbrough said he will likely not allow HB 2435 to have a hearing in the Senate Rules Committee, which he chairs.
For the second year in a row, Ranferi Perez took home first place in W.M. Irvin Elementary School’s Spanish Spelling Bee. The school held its first Spanish Spelling Bee last year when English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher Emily Francis (recently featured on The Ellen Show) came across information online about the National Spanish Spelling Bee. She was inspired by the event and decided to give her students the opportunity to participate in their own bee.
A new working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research argues that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program had a "significant impact" on the educational and life decisions of undocumented immigrant youth, resulting in a 45 percent decrease in teen birth rates, a 15 percent increase in high school graduation rates and a 20 percent increase in college enrollment rates. The researchers found differential effects by gender, with most of the gains in college enrollment concentrated among women. For men alone, the effect of DACA on college enrollment was not statistically significant.
One of the challenges of working with newcomer English language learners who have only basic English skills is keeping content on grade level. At the ENLACE Academy for newcomers at Lawrence High School in Massachusetts, teachers have found that the structures of Model United Nations offer a good way to get students discussing a grade-level topic with materials that support language acquisition.
The Guardian Teacher Network went in search for inventive ways to get students excited about reading and writing. Here's their round-up.
As teachers across the country are walking out recently in a fight for higher pay and better school funding, librarians are fighting to keep their jobs. From Oakland to Dallas to Scranton, PA, and in large and small towns across the United States, school librarian positions are being eliminated at an alarming rate. When the jobs are cut, it is difficult to know what to do. Emotions are running high and fighting seems futile. Besides, says Elissa Malespina, it’s against the nature of most librarians to cause trouble. But that stereotype must be shed when necessary and Malespina did just that.
Federal authorities recently swept through a meatpacking plant in Eastern Tennessee, rounding up nearly 100 people they accused of being in the United States illegally. Immigrant rights groups say last week's operation in eastern Tennessee was the largest workplace immigration raid in a decade. More than 500 students stayed home from school the next day. Now, a week later, most are back in class. But the community is still reeling, teachers say.
District leaders of Piscataway Township Schools five years ago decided they needed to more effectively serve its large—and rapidly growing—population of English language learners. A combination of grants and community outreach allowed the New Jersey district to adopt a “cradle to career” approach by expanding its preschool program to more effectively prepare infants and toddlers for kindergarten, providing ESL certification for pre-K through 12 teachers, and creating a Saturday program for students and parents.
The Every Student Succeeds Act becomes a working reality in district central offices and schools this fall. But it's unclear if the law, which passed in a haze of rare bipartisanship more than two years ago, will live up to its promise.