Curriculum

Calif. Texts Will Add Lessons For English-Learners

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — January 23, 2002 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The main English/language arts textbooks for California’s elementary and middle schools will incorporate lessons for English-learners for the first time, reducing the need for separate materials in most classrooms.

The texts approved by the state school board this month are aligned with California’s English/language arts and language-development standards and include daily lessons for students with varying levels of English proficiency.

In previous textbook adoptions, materials for language-minority children were separate from the standard textbook, and often the lessons were not aligned with those texts. Those materials did not always offer students equal learning opportunities, said John Mockler, the executive director of the state school board.

“We wanted the needs of the English-language learner to be addressed in the core materials,” Mr. Mockler said. “This assures that the teachers of California will be trained to deal with English-learners in every classroom.”

The English language-development standards are aligned with the state’s language arts standards for grades K-3. But proponents of bilingual education, which California voters curtailed under Proposition 227 in 1998, are criticizing the new textbooks.

Students assigned to bilingual education classes are taught academics in their native languages while they are learning English. Proposition 227 replaced most of those programs with one-year English- immersion programs, though parents can apply for waivers that allow their children to learn in their first languages.

Texts Criticized

“We really believe that when you use students’ home language in [instructional materials], it brings meaning to their education,” said Maria S. Quezada, the executive director of the California Association for Bilingual Education. “These kids will have to sit through 21/2 hours of instruction that they don’t understand before they are taught something they can understand.”

Nearly one-third of the state’s 5 million schoolchildren do not speak English as their native language. More than 80 percent of those students speak Spanish.

Ms. Quezada said the textbook-adoption criteria did not devote sufficient attention to the needs of language-minority children. She is one of a group of more than 50 community leaders, parents, educators, and bilingual education advocates who signed a letter to Gov. Gray Davis this month urging the Democrat to stop the board from taking action.

Calling for an end to what it contends is the “relentless assault” on the educational rights of language- minority children, the group also objected to new regulations for reclassifying English-learners as fluent and revisions to the parental-waiver process.

The texts include a 35-minute lesson each day that teachers can use to help English- learners tackle grade-level material.

For the elementary grades, the state board approved just two basic-reading programs: A Legacy of Literacy, published by Boston-based Houghton Mifflin, and SRA Open Court, published by SRA/McGraw- Hill, a division of the McGraw-Hill Cos., based in New York City. Four basic programs were adopted for grades 6-8. The publishers are also required to offer a version of the texts for bilingual classrooms.

As one of the largest textbook-adoption states and a traditionally lucrative market for publishers, California wields significant influence over the types of materials published for school use nationwide. In textbook-adoption states, districts can use state money only to buy instructional materials that appear on an approved list.

Several publishers that have submitted their products for California’s approval in the past did not do so this time around because the materials would not have met the new requirements, Mr. Mockler said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2002 edition of Education Week as Calif. Texts Will Add Lessons For English-Learners


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum He Taught About White Privilege and Got Fired. Now He's Fighting to Get His Job Back
Matthew Hawn is an early casualty in this year's fight over how teachers can discuss with students America's struggle with racism.
13 min read
Social studies teacher Matthew Hawn is accused of insubordination and repeated unprofessional conduct for sharing Kyla Jenèe Lacey's, 'White Privilege', poem with his Contemporary Issues class. Hawn sits on his couch inside his home on August 17, 2021.
Matthew Hawn is accused of insubordination and repeated unprofessional conduct for lessons and materials he used to teach about racism and white privilege in his Contemporary Issues class at Sullivan Central High School in Blountville, Tenn.<br/>
Caitlin Penna for Education Week
Curriculum What's the Best Way to Address Unfinished Learning? It's Not Remediation, Study Says
A new study suggests acceleration may be a promising strategy for addressing unfinished learning in math after a pandemic year.
5 min read
Female high school student running on the stairs leads to an opportunity to success
CreativaImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Curriculum School Halts Use of Fictional Book in Which Officer Kills a Black Child
Fifth graders in at least one Broward County school were assigned to read a book that critics say casts police officers as racist liars.
Rafael Olmeda, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
5 min read
Broward County School Board member Lori Alhadeff listens during a meeting of the Broward County School Board, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Broward County School Board member Lori Alhadeff listens during a meeting of the Broward County School Board in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Alhadeff told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that she does not feel like the book "Ghost Boys" is appropriate for 5th graders.
Lynne Sladky/AP
Curriculum Opinion Introducing Primary Sources to Students
Five educators share strategies for introducing primary sources to students, including English-language learners.
12 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty