the Nation: ESL in the News
First State to Withdraw from Common Core
Indiana became the first state to withdraw from the Common Core
math and reading standards. In
signing legislation in March to pull Indiana from the program,
Republican Gov. Mike Pence said he believes the state's students
are best served by education decisions made at the state and
"I believe when we reach the end of this process there
are going to be many other states around the country that will
take a hard look at the way Indiana has taken a step back, designed
our own standards and done it in a way where we drew on educators,
we drew on citizens, we drew on parents and developed standards
that meet the needs of our people," Pence said.
States that Ditch
Common Core Could Lose NCLB Waivers
Indiana, which recently became the first state to ditch the
Common Core Standards, has landed itself in hot waiver water
with the U.S. Department of Education. While the Hoosier State
hasn't officially been placed on "high risk" statusthe
dubious distinction that proceeded the revocation of Washington
state's waiverits flexibility is definitely on thin ice
with the feds.The Education Department sent a letter to Indiana
May 1 explaining that conditions have now been placed on its
States didn't have to adopt the common core in order to get
a federal waiver from the mandates of the No Child Left Behind
Act. Instead, they simply have to adopt standards that will
get students ready for college or the workforce.
Creating Wedge among Republicans
health care law may be Republicans' favorite weapon against
Democrats this year,
but there is another issue roiling their party and shaping the
establishment-versus-grass-roots divide ahead of the 2016 presidential
primaries: the Common Core.
When introduced the set of national educational standards had
the overwhelming support of Republican governors. Now, the Common
Core has incited intense resistance on the right and prompted
some in the party to reverse field and join colleagues who believe
it will lead to a federal takeover of schools.
Its most outspoken Republican defender, former Gov. Jeb Bush
of Florida, is also the most talked-about potential presidential
candidate among mainstream party leaders and donors. Mr. Bush
has called out some Republicans who have switched positions,
drawing what will be a dividing line in the campaign if he or
other defenders of the Common Core choose to run. He is joined
by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, but theirs is becoming
a small club.
The Next Generation
Sunshine State Standards?
Okay, How about The Tarheel State Standards?
In the face of growing opposition to the Common Core, officials
in a handful of states are worried that the brand is already
tainted. Theyre keeping the standards but slapping on
fresh names they hope will have greater public appeal and
impart a local flavor.
Opponents of the standards range from tea party activists
to progressives who bristle at the emphasis on testing and
the fact that the Gates Foundation funds and promotes them.
Now, with new names, the idea that the standards are common
might not be apparent.
Statements about the Common Core
Opponents of the CCCSS express their views in no uncertain
Secretary Arne Duncan: English Learners an Asset for Global,
states: "In our country, we have a valuable yet untapped
resource within the estimated 4.6 million students learning
English - the fastest-growing student population in our schools.
These students come to school already speaking a variety of
home languages. These languages are significant not only to
our economic competitiveness but also to our nation's security.
The heritage languages our English learners bring to school
are major assets to preserve and value."
House Announces New Teacher Program Regulations Will be Out
Arne Duncan said too many teachers say they werent well
prepared for teaching. Our nations children pay
the price, he said. The proposed regulations will ask
states to rate their teacher training programs, use better
data and make the results publicly available, the Obama administration
said in a news release.
Poll Focuses On Views
From A Wide Array Of Latino Americans
There is a lot of talk about "the
Latino voter" or the way companies are trying to win
over "the Latino consumer."
It's a cliché to point out that Latinos, like every
other ethnic group, are not monolithic. That caveat is underscored
by a new major poll of nearly 1,500 Latino Americans by NPR,
the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School
of Public Health. The poll covered several aspects of people's
lives religious beliefs, personal finances, health
status, education and more. The respondents are broken out
into a few key groups by ethnic ancestry: Cubans, Dominicans,
South Americans, Central Americans, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans.
Pollsters were also able to contrast responses from folks
who were immigrants with those who were born in the United
New MOOC for English-Teaching
The US Department of States Bureau of Educational and
Cultural Affairs has launched a pilot Massive Open Online
Course (MOOC) prepared by and for English-teaching professionals.
The course, "Shaping the Way We Teach English,"
targets educators looking to pursue English instruction as
a career as well as those already in the field who may wish
to refresh their teaching methods and approaches.
It offers a unique, multimedia-rich collaborative environment
where participants can interact with top-ranked English-language
educators from all over the world. Participants will have
access to a varity of asynchronous materials and methods and
interactive discussion forums.
Opinion . . .
MOOCs as Neocolonialism:
Who Controls Knowledge?
Philip G. Altbach, research professor and director of the
Center for International Higher Education at Boston College,
observes that the large majority of MOOCs (Massive Online
Open Courses) are created and taught by professors in the
United States and, for the most part, MOOC content is based
on the American academic experience and pedagogical ideas.
He contends that this hegemony may inhibit the emergence of
a local academic culture, local academic content, and courses
tailored specially for national audiences, perhaps making
it more difficult for alternative voices to be heard.
Program Teaches English Skills to Adult Workers on Campus
year ago, Hugo Mendoza wasnt able to speak a single
word in English. He would smile with embarrassment every time
someone would greet him in English, for he did not know how
to respond to a greeting. More than once, Hugo had to leave
a store without buying what he needed, because there werent
any Spanish speakers around that could help him. However,
his life has been transformed since he joined Habla.
Habla is a Stanford student-run organization whose
mission is to empower adult workers on campus through English-language
literacy and conversational skills. In addition to tutoring,
Habla seeks to connect the student and the janitorial
communities at Stanford. The one-on-one tutoring sessions
are held twice a week. Hugo attends Habla la Noche,
a session specifically designed for those working the night