the Nation: ESL in the News
Activists Continue Fast for Immigration Reform
rights activists on the National Mall broke their fast in early
December but were replaced by new fasters who are trying to
push House Republican leaders to schedule a vote on immigration
The fast has drawn national attention in part by attracting
such high-profile visitors as President Barack Obama, first
lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Numerous religious
leaders and politicians have shown their support by joining
the fasters for brief periods.
So far, however, the fasters have yet to influence Republican
House leaders to schedule a vote on immigration reform. The
Senate passed a comprehensive, bipartisan bill in June, but
Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said he will not bring it
to a vote in the House
House Dismantles NCLB
get Washington out of the way to ensure a brighter future for
our children," said Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala, as the House
let states and local school districts, rather than Washington,
set the rules for ensuring that kids are getting good educations.
The legislation would eliminate federally required testing of
students, which has been controversial from the start. But the
measure passed with no Democratic support and drew a veto threat
from the Obama administration, which said it would be a "step
backward" in efforts to better prepare children for colleges
and careers and to bring improvements to low-performing schools.
Some Republicans have long contended that
Washington should have no role in setting education policy and
that the Education Department should be abolished. The House
bill would eliminate No Child Left Behind's adequate yearly
progress metric and get rid of other federal mandates required
of poor-performing schools, giving states and school districts
the authority to develop their own strategies for improving
student and school performances.
students and teachers deserve an education law that advances
progress for all students. The bill that the House passed today
is not that law."
US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's statement above reflects
his dissatisfaction with the recent re-write by the US House
of Representatives of the No Child Left Behind law.
Citing reasons he believes enacting the House version of the
law would be a huge step backward for education, he continues:
"I and other senior advisors to the President would recommend
that he veto H.R. 5 if it were presented to him."
Does the NCLB Rewrite Affect ELLs?
large coalition of education and advocacy organizations are
urging members of Congress to reject a Republican-written overhaul
of the Elementary Secondary and Education Act on the grounds
that English-language learners and Hispanic students would be
irreparably harmed by its passage.
The Hispanic Education Coalition, which brings together 20 civil
rights and education advocacy groups such as the Mexican American
Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the League of United
Latin American Citizens, sent a letter to all members of the
House warning that a vote for the Student Success Act, sponsored
by U.S. Rep. John Kline, a Minnesota Republican, would allow
states to return to the past and "ignore the educational
disparities of racial and ethnic minorities, ELLs, economically
disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities."
Would Get Federal Boost in Proposed Legislation
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.
U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley, a Democrat, introduced the Biliteracy
Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act late last month, a measure
that would create grants in the U.S. Department of Education
to help states that want to establish "seal of biliteracy"
programs that support and recognize students who demonstrate
proficiency in English and at least one other language.
Lays Out National Internet Access Plan
half-dozen eighth-graders at Mooresville, NC, Middle School
showed President Barack Obama how they use their "smart"
whiteboards by marking up a poem read at his first inauguration.
Circling a metaphor on the board automatically updated an iPad
Mini in a classmate's hand. Then
Obama told the country he wants every school in the U.S. to
have access to the same level of technology.
the gymnasium of a school that has garnered national attention
for its tech savvy, Obama unveiled Thursday a plan to connect
nearly every U.S. classroom to high-speed broadband and wireless
Internet over the next five years
Radio Helps Latinos, Schools Stay Tuned in to Each Other
Jeremy P. Meyer
Public Schools is reaching out to an increasingly diverse
student population through one of the most popular media for
The district says it is the first in the nation to produce
a commercial Spanish-language radio show to engage parents.
About 40 percent of the district's 79,000 students come from
homes where English is not the primary language, and many
of those students have parents who speak no English at all.
But they do turn on the radio regularly.
Spanish-language stations attract a high listenership in the
Denver-Boulder area, and DPS is riding their popularity to
convey information about the district.
"When you have parents who work at a restaurant, hotel
or construction site, they tune into the radio and it's on
all the time," said Alex Sanchez, director of DPS's multicultural
outreach office. Sanchez is the host of "Educa,"
a one-hour program produced by DPS that features information
about the district's initiatives, events and issues.
"We can't underestimate the reach of radio, especially
in the Latino community," said Marco Nuñez, community
organizer with the Padres y Jovenes Unidos advocacy group
that was featured in the recent DPS show about discipline