Recap of English-Learning News in 2008

By Mary Ann Zehr — December 23, 2008 2 min read
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My reporting has been heavy on serious news and light on innovations for teaching ELLs in the last year. In 2009, I hope that innovations will abound and that I’ll be able to draw your attention to them. (Otherwise I might have to strike the promise to report “innovations” from the description of Learning the Language.)

The year brought some significant news about ELLs, as I reported in these Education Week stories.

It’s No Secret: Progress Prized in Brownsville. A school district in which 42 percent of students are ELLs won the Broad Prize for Urban Education.
Education Officials Back Down on Some Proposed ELL Mandates. Arizona educators are required to implement programs in which ELLs receive four hours of instruction in English skills each day.
Ed. Department Says Federal Money For ELLs Can’t Supplant Other Funds. The Education Department still has a lot of work to do to clear up the murkiness of how Title III money can be spent.
Texas Likely to Appeal Court Ruling on English-Language-Learner Programs. A federal judge in Texas says the state has to revamp ELL secondary programs.
States Struggle to Meet Achievement Standards for ELLs. Lousiana is the only state to make adequate yearly progress goals for ELLs in math during the 2005-06 school year. No state hits the mark for ELLs in reading that school year, which is the most recent year for which the federal government has provided an evaluation.
Proposed ELL Guidelines Criticized as Too Rigid. The U.S. Department of Education releases its final “interpretation” for Title III.
Schools Brace for Bhutanese Wave. Schools prepare to receive children from a resettlement of 60,000 Bhutanese refugees to the United States over the next five years.

And the year wasn’t totally void of innovations in the education of ELLs or immigrant students, as these headlines from Learning the Language show.

‘Ordinary’ and Muslim are oral histories told by Muslim students in the Big Apple.
Two R.I. Districts Create a Common ELL Curriculum.
Thank You Letters from Undocumented Students, published in a book.
Immigrant Teens Show Their American Lives in Photos.

One of the most popular blog items for the whole year was One-Semester-of-Spanish Love Song. The reader who by far beat everyone out in making the most comments on this blog is Lynn E. (Find one of her comments here.)

Lynn, though I’ve never met you, I feel as if I know you. To all of you, thanks for your participation in this blog through reading, commenting, or sending me tips.

Happy Holidays! Look for regular posts again in the new year.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.