The LA Times describes a program in Cal State Long Beach that uses Spanish-speakers' knowledge of Spanish to accelerate learning of other romance languages - in this case French. "Unlike traditional language programs that focus on the grammar and vocabulary of a single language, students in the French and Italian programs are taught to use similarities in their native language to better comprehend the new one" It's the interdependence continuum (see Publications)!
The Washington Post documents how one of the only Republican candidates who is cogent on immigration will say anything to boost his poll numbers. One attendee at a recent rally "told the Texas governor he was tired of multilingual directions for products drew applause when he said he’d like to see English become the official language of the U.S. government. 'I don’t know how the rest of the conservatives in the room feel, but personally, I’m fed up with seeing the directions on every single product on every single shelf of every single store written in four languages,' said the man, who didn’t give his name. Perry replied, 'That is a statement, that’s not a question, and I can agree with it.'"
AZCapitoltimes reports on new movement to change the Arizona law that requires "Structured English Immersion", and the provision that children learn English and be put in mainstream classrooms after a year. A description: "English learner students spend four hours every day learning English. State Department of Education officials say the goal of Arizona’s concentrated four-hour English training is to make students English proficient in one year. However, critics of this methodology point to research that suggests it takes the average person five to six years to become proficient in another language". Forget about the devaluing of bilingualism for a second. There really is no better way to ensure failure than to approach second language acquisition in this way.
CBS Sacramento: A new anti-immigrant ballot initiative in California has been cleared for signature-gathering. Among the characteristics, "The proposal, filed by a group called the Taxpayer Revolution Committee, lays down a number of rules California agencies would be obliged to follow, including forbidding undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses and identifying the California counties hardest hit by 'alien transnational gangs'.” Kudos to the Taxpayer Revolution Committee for coming up with a particularly nasty term to frighten people - 'alien transnational gang'.
EdWeek: An Arizona administrative law judge ruled that the Tuscon Mexican American studies program was in violation of a recent Arizona law that "bans classes primarily designed for a particular ethnic group or that 'promote resentment toward a race or class of people.'” While the ruling is a recommendation only, it is in line with the new Tuscon superintendent's views, who will likely take action against the program because "by framing historical events in racial terms, the teachers promote groupthink and victimhood." Or, just maybe, "the classes push Latino students to excel and teach a long-neglected slice of America’s cultural heritage: Chicano perspectives on literature, history and social justice."
The Maricopa County sheriff and his immigration enforcement tactics are dealt another blow as "A judge overseeing a lawsuit that alleges racial profiling in Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration patrols issued punishments against the agency on Friday for its acknowledged destruction of records in the case," reports NPR.
Based on the story posted below, NPR runs a story on the same issue. Brings national attention to this very challenging issue.
AZCentral.com has a strong piece documenting how three adolescents navigate the institution of schooling and society in the wake of Arizona's anti-immigration law. Introducing one student: "Gerson lives in this trailer with two other young men. They are all seniors in high school, and they are all in the country illegally.In the aftermath of Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which made it a state crime to be an illegal immigrant, Gerson's father was deported. Jonathan Labrada's family moved away, and Alejandro Sau's family, such as it was, began to fall apart."
California, like Arizona and Massachusetts, have nationalistic English-only laws that preclude virtually any form of native language instruction. After more than a decade of implementation in these states, English learners perform among the lowest on many academic indicators. Ed Week reports on a Californian study among middle school age children that "found 30 percent of students learning English had not gained language proficiency by 8th grade, although most had been in the English learning program since kindergarten. Of those who remained in English classes in high school, almost half dropped out and only 6 percent passed the state high school exit exam." LA Unified School District,
The American Spectator runs an interesting rumination on this rather contentious question. Among the more contentious selections described by Mark Tooley, the column's author: "...if the Nativity story happened in today's Arizona, 'Sheriff Arpaio would seek to arrest Joseph and Mary, throw them into Tent City, where Mary would have had her baby with little medical attention.' In this scenario, Jesus would be an anchor baby. And Joseph may have a dream directing him back into Mexico, though the 'trek across the Arizona desert is as treacherous and dangerous as the trek from Bethlehem to Egypt.'"
Check out the Claves curriculum website
I am a professor in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College, and director of the Curriculum & Instruction doctoral program. I have served as an associate editor at Child Development, Applied Psycholinguistics, and an editor at Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. I was a bilingual teacher in Detroit, MI and have worked in district, state, and nonprofit settings. I work with bilingual learners from multilingual homes in K-8 settings, thinking about language use and development, cross-linguistic relations, instructional interventions, and teacher practice. I've published a bunch of articles and book chapters, and have developed language and reading curricula. I always work in close collaboration with teachers to facilitate the translation of research to practice.