Sunday, April 27, 2014

The importance of dual language immersion programs

The importance of dual language immersion programs

Dual language immersion programs
Bilingual education and dual language immersion programs in schools. (Shutterstock)

Anyone who felt the ice was thinning regarding the controversial nature of bilingualism education took it on the chin after the fallout from Coke’s recent Super Bowl commercial featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in eight languages. Yeah, there are still plenty of myopic folks who simply believe, “Either speak English or leave.”

The anti-bilingual wall

Still, there are cracks in the anti-bilingual wall in terms of K-12 education with California legislators currently debating the elimination of Prop 227, which in 1998 effectively ended bilingual education in that state.
Florida International University Assistant Professor of Linguistics Phillip M. Carter told VOXXI the irony is the smoking gun in favor of bilingual education is tied directly to Prop 227’s effect in Northern California, where such programs were allowed if more than 50 percent of parents signed waivers.
“There are very successful bilingual education programs in San Francisco City Schools for languages like Mandarin and Japanese,” Carter said. “The data from those programs is very, very good. Those students do better than their peers in non-bilingual programs within the same district.”
The reason why bilingual education programs produce higher-achieving students has to do with cognitive benefits such as enhanced understanding of mathematics, creativity and selective retention.
What’s currently being proposed in California is to allow bilingual education, thus benefiting millions of Spanish speaking students who right now are taking English-only classes.
bilingual education
Bilingual education benefits students.(Shutterstock)
“The proposal is for dual language immersion (DLI) programs, which differ slightly from bilingual education programs,” Carter said. “The goal is to give students education in all core areas in both languages – acquiring English and maintaining the home language if you’re an immigrant student or acquiring the second language and maintaining English if you’re U.S. born.”
He added that DLI programs, which begin with young children, actually increase the cognitive benefits for students. This also effectively dispels the introduction of foreign language study in high school.
“You get less benefits the older you are when you learn the language, so that means it makes very little sense to block use of both languages until high school,” Carter said. “That’s a huge missed opportunity, not only for Latino students who come to school probably speaking Spanish and they forget it, but also in terms of the cognitive benefits all students regardless of language background will receive.”
One of the more devastating byproducts of the bilingual education debate is its affect on the Latino family, which sends kids to school to learn English. The result is not only do the young students lose their cultural heritage and the ability to speak to their extended family in their native tongue, but deny themselves career opportunities.
“There’s an astounding number of cascading effect on Latino families where parents and grandparents only speak Spanish and kids who only speak English or have receptive bilingualism, where they can understand their parents but aren’t comfortable responding in Spanish,” Carter said. “That’s how language attrition takes place.
“Which you can say, ‘OK, who cares? Do we need Spanish in the U.S.?’ And you can say, ‘Yeah, we do.’ It’s good for the students, and it’s good for the local economies. Imagine if all of the millions of U.S. Latinos had full education in both languages, what kind of economic benefit that would usher in. It would be tremendous.”
It’s one thing to be able to communicate bilingually but what’s lost on, say, Latino students who no longer study Spanish is literacy – these are skills that are desperately needed in places such as Southern California, the southwest and Miami.
Considering a bilingual education benefits all students – Latinos, African Americans, whites – Carter remains hopeful the concept will soon be embraced by all sides.
“The page is turning on account of globalization,” Carter said. “I think that people from across the political spectrum are recognizing the globalizing forces on the economy and political systems of putting people in contact with one another from diverse places in ways that are unprecedented.”
“Despite that inherent political nature of language issues, I think the tide is turning and people are starting to say ‘OK, yes, actually this does make sense.’”
SEE ALSO: Bilingual standards for students in New Mexico
Bilingual Children.
12 Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bilingual Children. (Multilingual Living Magazine.)

Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come

I offer this reflection in honor of Earth Day that took place last week.  

Our Mother Earth is in stress.  We "first world-ers" are the biggest consumers and polluters on the planet, and we inhabit spaces in our everyday lives characterized by utter silence or lack of recognition of these things.  Sure, there are scientists, technocrats, and policymakers working in search of discrete policy solutions, but when this impending crisis of colossal proportions is upon us, every single person on the planet has a stake in—and indeed, responsibility toward—this issue of climate change. 

Check this out:

"Organic matter frozen in Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouse gases that will cause further warming, the scientists said. And the worst is yet to come, the scientists said in the second of three reports that are expected to carry considerable weight next year as nations try to agree on a new global climate treaty."
 The silence is deafening.


Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported on Monday, and they warned that the problem was likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.

The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and are becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants, which is killing some creatures or stunting their growth, the report found.

Organic matter frozen in Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouse gases that will cause further warming, the scientists said. And the worst is yet to come, the scientists said in the second of three reports that are expected to carry considerable weight next year as nations try to agree on a new global climate treaty.
Continue reading the main story Video
Play Video|1:11

Panel on U.N. Climate Change Report

Panel on U.N. Climate Change Report

Rajendra K. Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Christopher Field, the co-chairman of the group that wrote the report, discuss its warning.
Credit Christopher Jue/European Pressphoto Agency
In particular, the report emphasized that the world’s food supply is at considerable risk — a threat that could have serious consequences for the poorest nations.

“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the intergovernmental panel, said at a news conference here on Monday presenting the report.

The report was among the most sobering yet issued by the scientific panel. The group, along with Al Gore, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its efforts to clarify the risks of climate change. The report is the final work of several hundred authors; details from the drafts of this and of the last report in the series, which will be released in Berlin in April, leaked in the last few months.
The report attempts to project how the effects will alter human society in coming decades. While the impact of global warming may actually be moderated by factors like economic or technological change, the report found, the disruptions are nonetheless likely to be profound. That will be especially so if emissions are allowed to continue at a runaway pace, the report said.

It cited the risk of death or injury on a wide scale, probable damage to public health, displacement of people and potential mass migrations.

“Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hot spots of hunger,” the report declared.

The report also cited the possibility of violent conflict over land, water or other resources, to which climate change might contribute indirectly “by exacerbating well-established drivers of these conflicts such as poverty and economic shocks.”

The scientists emphasized that climate change is not just a problem of the distant future, but is happening now.

A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools

The Walton Foundation has such a powerful influence on public education as it profits from taxpayer dollars.

In 2013, the Walton foundation spent more than $164 million across the country. According to Marc Sternberg, who was appointed director of K-12 education reform at the Walton Family Foundation last September, Walton has given grants to one in every four charter start-ups in the country, for a total of $335 million.

The privatization of public education is an ever-present and growing threat to our democracy


A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools

Mary Ann Carlson with pupils at a charter school in Washington run by KIPP, an organization aided by the Walton foundation. Credit Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — DC Prep operates four charter schools here with 1,200 students in preschool through eighth grade. The schools, whose students are mostly poor and black, are among the highest performing in Washington. Last year, DC Prep’s flagship middle school earned the best test scores among local charter schools, far outperforming the average of the city’s traditional neighborhood schools as well.

Another, less trumpeted, distinction for DC Prep is the extent to which it — as well as many other charter schools in the city — relies on the Walton Family Foundation, a philanthropic group governed by the family that founded Walmart.

Since 2002, the charter network has received close to $1.2 million from Walton in direct grants. A Walton-funded nonprofit helped DC Prep find building space when it moved its first two schools from a chapel basement into former warehouses that now have large classrooms and wide, art-filled hallways.

One-third of DC Prep’s teachers are alumni of Teach for America, whose largest private donor is Walton. A Walton-funded advocacy group fights for more public funding and autonomy for charter schools in the city. Even the local board that regulates charter schools receives funding from the Walton Family Foundation.
Nate Hanna at Washington’s Mundo Verde school, a foundation recipient. Credit Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times
In effect, Walton has subsidized an entire charter school system in the nation’s capital, helping to fuel enrollment growth so that close to half of all public school students in the city now attend charters, which receive taxpayer dollars but are privately operated.

Walton’s investments here are a microcosm of its spending across the country. The foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants nationally to educational efforts since 2000, making it one of the largest private contributors to education in the country. It is one of a handful of foundations with strong interests in education, including those belonging to Bill and Melinda Gates of Microsoft; Eli Broad, a Los Angeles insurance billionaire; and Susan and Michael Dell, who made their money in computers. The groups have many overlapping interests, but analysts often describe Walton as following a distinct ideological path.

In addition to giving grants to right-leaning think tanks like the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, the Walton foundation hired an education program officer who had worked at the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative business-backed group. Walton has also given to centrist organizations such as New Leaders for New Schools, a group co-founded by Jon Schnur, a former senior adviser to President Obama’s transition team and to Arne Duncan, the secretary of education.

In 2013, the Walton foundation spent more than $164 million across the country. According to Marc Sternberg, who was appointed director of K-12 education reform at the Walton Family Foundation last September, Walton has given grants to one in every four charter start-ups in the country, for a total of $335 million.

“The Walton Family Foundation has been deeply committed to a theory of change, which is that we have a moral obligation to provide families with high quality choices,” said Mr. Sternberg. “We believe that in providing choices we are also compelling the other schools in an ecosystem to raise their game.”
The supporters and critics of charter schools, many of them fierce, cannot be easily divided into political camps. Supporters include both Republicans and Democrats, although critics tend to come more from the left. In Washington, where the charter system has strong backing in City Hall, supporters have been more successful than in New York, where opposition from teachers unions and others has kept charter school enrollment to about 6 percent, despite growth in the past decade.
The size of the Walton foundation’s wallet allows it to exert an outsize influence on education policy as well as on which schools flourish and which are forced to fold. With its many tentacles, it has helped fuel some of the fastest growing, and most divisive, trends in public education — including teacher evaluations based on student test scores and publicly funded vouchers for students to attend private schools.
“The influence of philanthropy in terms of the bang for the buck they get is just really kind of shocking,” said Jack Schneider, an assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
A separate Walton foundation that supports higher education bankrolls an academic department at the University of Arkansas in which faculty, several of whom were recruited from conservative think tanks, conduct research on charter schools, voucher programs and other policies the foundation supports.
A class at Junior High School 118 in the Bronx led by Pamela Paniagua of the Walton-backed Teach for America. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times
Last year, the Walton Family Foundation gave $478,380 to a fund affiliated with the Chicago public schools to help officials conduct community meetings to discuss their plan to close more than 50 schools at a time when charters were expanding in the city.
And Walton played a role in a recent battle in New York, giving a grant to a charter advocacy group that helped pay for advertisements attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio after he denied public space to three schools run by Success Academy Charter Schools, a network in which students have gotten high scores on standardized tests.
While charter schools and vouchers may benefit those families that attend these schools, there may be unintended effects on the broader public school system.
Grant recipients say Walton injects entrepreneurial energy into public education and helps groups eager to try new ideas move more quickly than they could if they relied solely on publicly managed bureaucracies. Thousands of children, they say, attend better schools because of options Walton supports.
“The supply of new models and new ideas is really important, and so I think it’s a very positive thing,” said Robert C. Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, of the Walton investments. Neither Dr. Pianta nor the Curry School have received funding from Walton.
Critics say that Walton backs schools and measures that take public dollars — and, some say, the most motivated families — away from the existing public schools, effectively creating a two-tier educational system that could hurt the students most in need.
Although Walmart opened its first two stores in the nation’s capital just last December after a protracted battle over the retailer’s wages, the Walton Family Foundation has played a role in steering the direction of public education in the city for more than a decade. Since 2000, the foundation has invested more than $80 million here, not only in charter schools but also in support of taxpayer-funded vouchers for students to attend private schools. It poured millions into a controversial overhaul of tenure, the implementation of stricter teacher evaluation systems and the introduction of performance pay in the district’s public schools.
Walton also supports measures that labor leaders say undermine union protections for teachers. Like-minded Walton recipients are working together in many cases, so there are few dissenting voices.
“When lots of charter schools open up, it’s like a new Walmart store moving in,” said Kevin G. Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center at University of Colorado in Boulder. “You could look at it and say, ‘Well, the schools in a community are losing families because of healthy competition the same way that the hardware store is losing customers because of healthy competition.’ But that doesn’t take into account the long-term harms to the community, which are probably greater than any short-term benefit.”
Walton’s Marc Sternberg, second from left, does not apologize for the foundation’s focus on charter schools. "What’s the argument there?" he said. "Don’t help anybody until you can help everybody?" Credit Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times
In addition to the foundation’s activities, many individual members of the Walton family have made millions of dollars in campaign donations to candidates for local school boards and state legislatures who support causes funded by the foundation.
Walton’s largest recipients include the Charter School Growth Fund, which helps charter school networks expand ($101.6 million since 2000); Teach for America, which recruits high-achieving college graduates for two-year teaching stints in poor districts and now places about a third of its corps members in charter schools ($67.2 million); KIPP, one of the country’s best-known and largest charter school networks ($58.7 million); the Alliance for School Choice, a national advocate for private school vouchers ($18.4 million), whose board includes Carrie Penner, a member of the Walton family; and GreatSchools Inc., an online schools information database ($15.5 million.)
Last year, the foundation announced a two-year, $8 million grant to StudentsFirst, an advocacy group led by Michelle A. Rhee, the former schools chancellor in Washington who oversaw many of the policy changes funded by Walton in the district’s public schools. StudentsFirst now pushes for the extension of many of those same policies in states across the country, contributing to the campaigns of lawmakers who support the group’s agenda.
“What they’re doing in terms of education is they’re trying to create an alternative system and destabilize what has been the anchor of American democracy,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, the country’s second-largest teachers union.
Although the foundation’s leaders say they are focused on helping children in poverty or stuck in low-performing schools, some of their actions support concepts regardless of whether poor children benefit. In 2012, for example, Walton gave $300,000 to the Douglas County School District in Colorado to help it fight a lawsuit brought by opponents of a voucher program. The median income of families in the district, where the public schools are high performing, is more than $99,000, according to census data.
Walton supporters say the foundation is not blindly supporting the expansion of charters. Two years ago, Walton announced a $5.2 million grant to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers to support an initiative under which the group would push state and local regulators to close about 900 low-performing charter schools around the country, while opening another 2,000.
“Any foundation that invests the money has to ask themselves, is their money impacting the system as a whole?” said Dennis Van Roeckel, president of the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union.
Walton’s Mr. Sternberg, who started his career in Teach for America and founded the Bronx Lab School, a public school in New York City, does not apologize for Walton’s commitment to charter schools and vouchers. “What’s the argument there?” he said during an interview. “Don’t help anybody until you can help everybody?”
He said the foundation was focused not on ideology but on results, a word he repeated many times.
A student worked at Mundo Verde. Credit Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times
In Washington, for example, the group has given more than $5.8 million to the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board, whose members are nominated by the mayor to regulate the opening and closing of charter schools. The board has used Walton’s grants to help develop accountability measures for all charter schools in the city. When critics complained that charters were pushing out difficult students, the board began reviewing and publishing data on expulsions and midyear departures. Scott Pearson, executive director of the board, said charter schools in the city had halved expulsions since the board began releasing statistics.
“D.C. is a better place today than it was 10 years ago because of the reforms that have played out here,” said Mr. Sternberg, who was an official in the New York City Department of Education under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He pointed to recent increases in scores on national tests by both public and charter school students, saying that neighborhood schools had responded to competition from charters. “And maybe in very small part, because of Walton’s role,” he added.
Walton has become a go-to source for many charter schools seeking start-up grants. In addition to funding large networks like KIPP, which is expanding in Washington, the foundation has given grants to several stand-alone schools.
The Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts, housed in a building across the street from the Washington Navy Yard in the southeast part of the city, received $250,000 from Walton in 2011. The school used the money to buy computers for students, as well as chemistry lab equipment and recording gear for the school’s media studio.
All of the school’s students qualify for federally subsidized free or reduced price lunches. According to Marco Clark, the founder and head of the school, one in five students have special needs and one in 10 have been involved with the criminal justice system.
On a recent morning, the range of academic abilities in the school was apparent. In an advanced placement world history class, 11th-graders gave rapid-fire answers to questions about Native American tribes, with the teacher asking “Why?” to gauge whether students were merely regurgitating memorized facts. Upstairs, in an eighth-grade reading class, several students asked the teacher for help in understanding a passage about the world’s largest harp. One boy struggled to eke out what he thought was the main point. “It about how can orchastra works,” he wrote.
Several students noted that they had come from schools in which they either did not feel safe or were not learning much. Dr. Clark acknowledged that the school was still working to raise test scores, and had added extra math and reading classes.
“Those who want to criticize any philanthropy group for giving money to kids to change their futures,” said Dr. Clark, “there’s something wrong with them.”
Some parents said they felt torn between the interests of their children and those of the city. Marcus Robinson, the owner of a pet supply and grooming business, said he had attended public schools in Washington and wanted his children to do the same. But his daughters Lourdes, 8, and Maja, 6, attend Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School, a start-up that received $250,000 from Walton.
Mr. Robinson was concerned that the schools in his northeastern neighborhood had trouble coping with students who had behavioral problems. He also liked the dual language approach at Mundo Verde, where students work in small classes on projects related to the environment and sustainability. A relaxed atmosphere permeates the classrooms, and a yoga teacher and nutritionist are on the faculty.
“Charter schools are a bit of a disservice to the public schools,” Mr. Robinson said. “It puts the onus on public schools to take on the people and children that other schools don’t want. But in the meantime, between everyone fighting about it, I did not want my kids to be caught in the limbo.”
Kitty Bennett contributed research.

Education: States' standardized tests have a negative impact on parents' civic engagement -- ScienceDaily

More evidence that points to how our large systems of testing in many of our states structure out the public voice and as a consequence, compromise democracy.  Indeed, these systems are tantamount to weapons of mass distraction.


Education: States' standardized tests have a negative impact on parents' civic engagement -- ScienceDaily

"Jesse Rhodes merged data from an original survey of public school
parents with quantitative measures of the scope and alignment of state
standards, testing, and accountability policies, to determine whether
and how education reforms influence the parents' political attitudes and

He found that highly developed assessment policies
alienate parents from government and discourage parental involvement in
education, an effect he terms "demobilization." Parental trust in
government was 11 percent lower in states with the most extensive
assessment policies, and parental assessments of government
effectiveness were 15 percent lower, compared to states with less
developed testing polices."


"that these policies tend to depress civic engagement among parents
because they provide few opportunities for parental input and can
introduce undesirable changes into schools.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Obama Administration Plan Seeks to Rate Teacher Training Programs

Great commentary by Bruce Baker can be found here in his blog post titled, "Arne-Ology & the Bad Incentives of Evaluating Teacher Prep with Student Outcome Data."
Yes, this is a terrible idea.


Obama Administration Plan Seeks to Rate Teacher Training Programs


The Obama administration on Friday will announce plans to develop ratings of teacher preparation programs to try to make them more accountable for their graduates’ future performance in the classroom.
Teachers have long complained that training programs often do not adequately prepare candidates for the challenges of teaching children with varying needs and abilities. Prospective teachers, in turn, have no common way of evaluating the quality of thousands of programs across the country, whether they are in colleges of education or based in alternative groups like Teach for America.

Arne Duncan, the education secretary, said he often speaks with teachers about how they trained for the job. “I ask teachers, were they prepared when they entered into that school, or entered the profession, and there’s often a fair amount of nervous laughter,” Mr. Duncan said in a conference call with reporters.

By this summer, the administration will propose rules for evaluating all teacher training programs, using metrics that could include the placement of graduates in schools, pass rates on licensing exams, teacher retention rates and the performance ratings that teachers receive on the job.

A 2013 review of 2,420 teacher preparation programs by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonprofit group that advocates tougher standards for teachers, found that less than a quarter provided candidates with concrete strategies for managing students in a classroom. The majority failed to guarantee that candidates were placed with highly skilled teachers during student-teaching stints.

Any proposals by the administration are likely to be controversial, particularly those requiring teacher training programs to release the evaluation data of their graduates in the classroom. Currently, 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have agreed to develop teacher performance ratings that include student test scores.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, the country’s second-largest teachers’ union, said she supported improvements in teacher training programs. But, she said, the administration should not implement “a quick-fix, test-and-punish, market-based ranking of programs.”

Education leaders said policymakers should have started with changes to teacher preparation programs, rather than focusing on the overhaul of tenure or changes to current teacher performance ratings. “It’s like the public health equivalent of trying to cure people who have a malady versus trying to prevent the malady in the first place,” said Charles Barone, policy director for Democrats for Education Reform, a group that pushes for test-based teacher evaluations and has battled teachers’ unions. “We’re putting a lot of money in the evaluation of teachers who never had any business getting into the profession anyway, or we’re remediating and telling them things to do that they should have been told in their teacher prep programs. They were cheated. It’s not fair to anybody.”

Two years ago, the administration tried to come up with a proposal for rating teacher training programs, but the committee convened to develop the rules could not agree and the proposal stalled. David M. Steiner, the dean of the School of Education at Hunter College in New York, who served on the rulemaking committee in 2012, said he hoped the administration would be more successful this time.

“We have 1,400 education schools that are all over the map in terms of what they’re doing and how they do it,” Mr. Steiner said. “And we owe our kids highly effective teachers, and we’ve got to begin to be highly transparent about what we’re doing.”

Bilingual Education: Learning While Learning English by Angel Noe Gonzalez

New book out on Bilingual Education by one of our most beloved, important early bilingual education leaders in the Mexican American Community, Angel Noe Gonzalez.  

He is a treasure, indeed.  Look forward to reading this book.


Bilingual Education: Learning While Learning English

A Book for All Americans

            This book was born as a result of my decision to donate all of my collection of materials that I have accumulated over the last forty-three years to the University of Texas – Pan American.  While collecting all the materials I realized that I needed to bring all of this collection of materials and joint experience of numerous bilingual education advocates and practitioners into focus for use by all those who will follow in the bilingual education arena.  So now we have a book which provides credible information and facts.  It is my belief that everyone is committed to ensuring that all students are entitled to equality and opportunity to LEARN, regardless of the language they bring to school.
Chapter I opens with historic evidence that a superintendent of schools in Mercedes, Texas knew in 1937 that  the problem existed, moved to a position of power in the state education agency,  and did nothing to solve the problem.  Soon thereafter, a group convened in Tucson, Arizona, and organized a symposium with the support of Senator Ralph W. Yarborough (D) Texas, the National Education Association (NEA), several United States Senators, and many educators and community advocates.  National hearings were held with proposed legislation styled as Senate Bill 428 as the focus of the hearings.  These hearings gave impetus to the passage of The Bilingual Education Act which was signed into law on January 2, 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson (D), Texas.

Court cases and respective decrees followed the passage of the Bilingual Education Act. These cases and their impact on bilingual education are reviewed in the book.  Federal legislation and mandates are reviewed in detail, as well as one of the most comprehensive state policies promulgated as Chapter 89 BB in Texas by the State Board of Education..

A partial listing of some important “Research Findings”, from such researchers as, Cummins, Tucker, Collier and Thomas, Hakuta, Krashen and many others also is provided in this book.

Chapter VII focuses on: A Case Study of Advocacy, the design and findings of the Texas Successful Schools Study which documented the effectiveness of bilingual education programs; the Houston ISD Immersion Study and the Houston ISD Model Bilingual Program.  In Chapter VIII some Bilingual and ESL models are given focus as advocated by James Crawford.

One of the most interesting topics covered in the book is related to the Office of Inspector General’s audits, which prompted an Oversight Congressional Hearing on Bilingual Education in Washington D. C. of suspect federal audits conducted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) on six Texas Title VII Bilingual Education programs.  The targeted grantees in Texas audited by the OIG with an obvious political agenda included: Austin ISD, San Antonio ISD, Edgewood ISD, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, Dallas ISD, and Region One Education Service Center.  The Department of Education OIG was demanding federal grant refunds in the amount of $5.8 million.  Upon conclusion of the hearing, and based on challenging testimony by representatives of the grantees and the Texas Congressional Delegation, the Congressional Oversight Committee ruled in favor of the Texas Title VII grantees that refunded $0.0!

Also included in this publication are the “Twenty-two Recommendations” made by the then Superintendent of Schools, Angel Noé González and presented to the Crystal City School Board in 1973, in response to student demands for Bilingual Education.  Recommendation number twenty-two advocated for equal prestige to the Spanish language as a medium of instruction, identical to the English language..  The school board adopted the recommendation as district policy.
The book is written to profile the evolution of bilingual education.  While many problems bilingual education faced have been addressed, now we must solve the biggest problem which is training and recruitment of appropriately trained certified bilingual education teachers.

          “Bilingual Education: Learning While Learning English” is a literary contribution like none other that has been produced to refute the myths and misconceptions about bilingual education and its effectiveness.  It factually profiles the battles fought, both those won and lost, and are ongoing such as the English Only movement, the litigation brought about on behalf of non-English speaking children and their parents, and the politics utilized by misinformed opponents of bilingual education.  Additionally, the book illustrates the documented evidence in state and national research that bilingual education can be effective in learning English when administered, implemented and evaluated in appropriate fashion.

OSCAR M. CARDENAS,  Major Contributor

Wishing Away Inequality: Reaction to the Supreme Court’s Schuette Decision | ACS

Wishing Away Inequality: Reaction to the Supreme Court’s Schuette Decision | ACS

Wishing Away Inequality: Reaction to the Supreme Court’s Schuette Decision

April 24, 2014
Guest Poby Liliana M. GarcesWilliam C. Kidder and Gary OrfielGarces is an Assistant Professor of the Higher Education Program and Research Associate of the Center for Study of Higher Education at Penn State College of Education. Kidder is the Assistant Executive Vice Chancellor at UC Riverside. Orfield is the Professor of Education, Law, Political Science and Urban Planning and Co-Director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA.
Chief Justice Hughes famously said that a dissenting opinion is “an appeal to the brooding spirit of the law, to the intelligence of a future day, when a later decision may possibly correct the error into which the dissenting judge believes the court to have been betrayed.” Dred Scott, the Civil Rights Cases, Plessy, KorematsuIn these and other landmark race-related cases, dissenting Justices spoke eloquently to “the intelligence of a future day” in laying bare the errors in the holding and reasoning of the Court’s majority opinions.
Justice Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion in Schuette, joined by Justice Ginsburg, is both brooding and compelling in the way it speaks to an intelligence of a future day, a day when, “as members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter.”
We deeply regret the decision by the Supreme Court upholding Michigan’s ban on race-sensitive admissions as constitutional and overturning the Sixth Circuit’s en banc ruling that the referendum violated the federal constitutional guarantee of equal protection. On the heels of recent voting rights and campaign finance decisions—decisions that not only create enormous barriers but further weaken minority political power and increases the power of money—the Schuette ruling exemplifies how legal decisions can ignore the stark realities of our nation and the deep racial inequalities that continue to exist in America. 
The reality in Michigan is that 64 percent of whites but only 14 percent of African-Americans (Michigan’s largest minority group) voted in favor of Proposal 2 in that state. And our research at the Civil Rights Project shows myriad educational inequalities in Michigan that corroborate Justice Sotomayor’s observation about the “simple truth that race does matter.” Michigan K-12 schools are some of the most racially segregated in the nation: over half (53 percent) of African-Americans in Michigan attend schools where less than ten percent of the student body is white.  And contrary to Justice Roberts’ facile notion that race-conscious programs “do more harm than good,” Michigan’s ban on these policies caused the proportion of African-Americans graduating from the University of Michigan Law School to drop below three percent, the lowest percentage at the School since 1969.
With race-sensitive admissions policies, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor graduated more African-American freshmen—and at a higher graduation rate, no less—than the combined total for UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego with bans on such policies. As Justice Sotomayor correctly notes, for African-Americans, bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, doctoral degrees and professional school degrees have all declined precipitously at the University of Michigan in the wake of the ban.
Institutions of higher education in Michigan wishing to address the ways in which race continues to matter in shaping students’ educational opportunities now face an enormous barrier forbidding them to do what they have concluded to be necessary for educational and social reasons—to overcome racial barriers and take actions that enrich their classes and their ability to adequately prepare the future leaders of the state and the nation. This decision hobbles institutions seeking diversity in the few states with bans similar to Michigan’s.
As Justice Sotomayor stated, the Schuette ruling “drains the Fourteenth Amendment of one of its core teachings” that protecting the right to meaningful political participation “must mean vigilantly policing the politi­cal process to ensure that the majority does not use other methods to prevent minority groups from partaking in that process on equal footing.” It is extremely difficult for relatively powerless minority communities to have the financial and other resources needed to make a serious effort to amend a state constitution. The Supreme Court had recognized that creating such an insurmountable barrier to considering positive civil rights policies violated principles of equal protection. There were very important precedents including one striking down the California proposition which would have prohibited fair housing laws and another overturning a proposition which would have prevented school desegregation in Washington State.
Schuette is another in a series by the current Supreme Court that are pushing the nation backward in terms of racial equity and interpreting away key civil rights precedents. In California, the decision means that the state's ban on race-sensitive admissions, which has so negatively affected public universities, will stand until and unless supporters of diversity and equal opportunity in higher education can marshal the resources to reverse Proposition 209.
This is a particularly urgent issue, of course, for one of our campuses (UCLA) had the largest number of applicants of any in the nation this year and is struggling against the odds created by proposition 209 to create the kind of diversity that helps students and future leaders of our state prepare to live and work and govern in a state where the substantial majority of students who are Latino, African-American and American Indian have too little access.
As individuals and as a society, we must remain committed to advancing diversity and equal opportunity in higher education and to support institutions of higher education that implement constitutionally permissible race-conscious admission policies to reduce inequality and enhance the prospects for degree attainment and future leadership contributions. To do so is to confront openly, rather than wish away, underlying inequalities and thereby help to secure a brighter and fairer future for entire communities and for American society.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Testing resistance movement exploding around country

Excellent commentary by Monty Neill at FairTest. -Angela

Testing resistance movement exploding around country

The testing resistance movement is growing rapidly around the country and parents are opting out their children from high-stakes standardized tests in most states. What do test reformers want to accomplish? Monty Neill, executive director of  FairTest, explains in this post. FairTest, or the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, is dedicated to eliminating the abuse and misuse of standardized tests.

By Monty Neill
This spring, the testing resistance movement has exploded across the nation. It will continue to grow as the testing season heads into the final stretch. How can assessment reformers marshal this energy and use it to accomplish positive change?
Protest activities around the country reinforce the three core demands of Testing Resistance and Reform Spring: test less, end high stakes, and implement multiple forms of performance-based assessment of student learning.
Parent, student and teacher concerns include:
* There is too much testing. It crowds out other subjects, even recess, depriving children of an engaging, well-rounded curriculum.* The tests are not useful to teachers, parents or students because they don’t assess important areas of learning, questions and answers are secret, and scores are not returned in a timely manner.
* Parents, teachers and students object to spending millions of dollars on testing and computer infrastructure for online testing while schools suffer increased class size and cuts to arts, sports, and other engaging activities.
* As a result of stress and anxiety, students are crying, vomiting and soiling themselves during standardized exams. Children fear that if they fail, their teachers will suffer. Some justifiably worry they will be denied promotion to the next grade or graduation.
*  Computer systems around the country are crashing during test administration, often compounding the stress, especially for students less familiar with technology.
* The tests are unfair, particularly to students whose first language is not English and to students with disabilities, as well as students who attended ill-funded schools in low-income communities.
* Parents dislike the use of student test results to judge teachers. They know that federal mandates to evaluate teachers based on student scores produce inaccurate ratings, a huge increase in testing, and more teaching to the test.
* The exams are too long and full of errors: unclear questions, obscure reading passages, math problems embedded in confusing language, more than one right answer – or no right answer.
* Parents object to huge, profit-making companies using their children as unpaid “guinea pigs” to try out questions for the PARCC and SBAC Common Core tests.
Most resisters say they don’t oppose all standardized testing. They want it cut way back and the stakes dramatically lowered. Many say that evaluation should be in the hands of teachers, not states and testing companies. They point to real work kids do in classrooms as the best evidence of student learning.
In some states, thousands of students and parents are opting out. Elsewhere, organizing drives are just getting started. Activists across the country understand this will be a multi-year effort.
In addition to expanding the movement, there are two other critical issues to address.
One is to continue strengthening alliances across boundaries of class and race. To win, assessments reformers must build a broad, diverse movement with political muscle.
In several communities, urban students across the nation have taken the lead by walking out of test sessions. Hundreds of parents of color in low-income New York City boroughs of Harlem  and Brooklyn recently publicized their opt out actions. They know that test overkill most damages schools serving low-income, minority and second language students, and that authorities are using test scores to justify closing schools, with resulting disruption of community life.
Parent, teacher and student activists at the recent United Opt Out conference in Denverplanned concrete steps to diversify the movement. For example, students working to build the Colorado Student Union are organizing meetings with both urban and suburban peers.
Our nation has historically failed the often-segregated schools attended by students of color. Thus, parents and communities demand accountability from schools and systems. Unfortunately, too few people know there are far better ways to provide information about schools than focusing on test results. Test reformers must develop and promote high quality assessment and evaluation that responds to the needs of all communities.
Second, while the resistance is shaking up the education establishment and has won important victories, meaningful policy changes have been implemented in only a few states and districts. The assessment reform movement needs to focus on important goals, such as:
* Districts must sharply reduce the number of standardized exams they require on top of federal and state mandates (e.g., “benchmark” tests). They should also end high stakes uses of exams for purposes such as grade promotion.
* States must eliminate testing requirements that are not federally mandated and drop high school graduation exams.
* Federal law should reduce required statewide assessments to once each in elementary, middle and high school, as recently introduced legislation will do. It should allow states to use sampling rather than test every child. Test scores must not be the basis for punitive actions against schools; genuine assistance must replace punishment.
*  The federal government also must end its requirement that states evaluate teachers “in significant part” on student scores in order to receive waivers to NCLB.
Since students deserve high-quality assessments that enhance learning, districts and states need to work with teachers to overhaul assessment. To know how well students are learning, the best evidence comes from reviewing their ongoing school work. This will also ensure the use of multiple measures. For those concerned about a lack of objectivity or comparability, there are effective ways to validate teachers’ judgments.   Limited use of standardized testing can act as an additional check on the system, as can school quality reviews. Without such structural changes, schools will remain vulnerable to an inevitable counter-attack from profiteering corporations and testing zealots.
Winning these changes will take political clout. As the resistance grows, we must find ways to turn anger and mobilization into concrete changes. Activists have employed various tactics toward that end. These include forums with elected officials (or empty chairs if they refuse to participate), working with legislators to draft bills, rallies and lobby days at state capitols where the public meets with their elected representatives, and letters-to-the-editor that identify policymakers who are blocking assessment reform. Building alliances across communities is essential. Texas parents and their allies persuaded the legislature to eliminate two-thirds of the state’s graduation exams through careful “inside” (legislative meetings and lobbying) and “outside” (rallies and grassroots mobilization) strategies.
Efforts to placate the opposition with changes that are more cosmetic than substantivewill inevitably continue. Activists should not be fooled. New Yorkers, for example, launched an enormous escalation of their opt out campaign just days after a mostly irrelevant “reform” bill passed in Albany, showing they would not be tricked. (On the bright side, the new law states that tests cannot be a “major” part of grade promotion decisions.)
Authorities also may promote “solutions” that benefit more privileged communities, thus re-dividing people by race and class. Examples include proposals to allow high-scoring districts to test less or to design alternative accountability systems, even though it is low-income schools and districts that most need these options. Reformers should welcome sound changes to assessment and accountability systems but insist they include all communities. By rejecting schemes to divide us, the testing resistance and reform movement can grow stronger and win fundamental changes.
The resistance movement has grown from modest roots to a flowering movement with increasing power and sophistication. That is a fantastic start for winning long-term victories.