Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Bilingual Programs on the way

In these difficult times when so many important programs are being taken away from our public schools, news likes this gives me a bit of hope. Lucky for the kids who get to participate. Let's hope more school will follow suit.
3 more schools add bilingual immersion programs
Ventura County Star

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More pros for bilingual parents

For those of us raising bilingual parents this article touts the obvious. But it sure is great to finally have research catching up. The research in question was done in Trieste, Italy with young children who spoke Italian and Slovenian.

Bilingual kids are more efficient learners

Tots exposed to two languages grasp speech patterns more easily

Thursday, March 12, 2009

English Learners' Bill of Rights

This might be old news for some of you, but at the last California Association of Bilingual Education (CABE) Conference, the following "English Learners' Bill of Rights" was presented

The CABE-Pearson “English Learners’ Bill of Rights” offers eight specific guiding principles:

1. English Learners benefit from a learning environment in which they feel respected, safe and secure.

2. English Learners should be treated equitably in terms of time spent meeting their individual needs.

3. English Learners benefit from focused instruction from teachers who have specialized training and understanding necessary to effectively teach students whose first language is not English.

4. English Learners benefit from curriculum and instructional materials that are academically challenging, possess age-appropriate content, and include subject matter that is at grade level; this includes culturally responsive methodologies and materials.

5. English Learners benefit from access to instructional materials that make the necessary accommodations for the varying levels of English proficiency.

6. English Learners benefit from being taught in a way that allows them to maintain their native language to be able to transfer and apply knowledge of their native language and culture to the study of English.

7. English Learners benefit from attending schools with the resources and expertise necessary to meet their needs.

8. English Learners benefit from the involvement of their parents in their education – this essential ingredient for closing the achievement gap should be fostered.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Student suspended for refusing to take English language test

Lori Phanachone, a senior at Storm Lake High School, refused to take the English Language Development Test and, as a result, was suspended for a week. Any student who marks that they speak another language besides English at home on their school registration form is required to take the test. I think this story hit a personal note since my own daughter was required to take this test on transferring into the public schools in high school. Here was my child, who had scored in the 99th percentile in the English standardized test that year, and spoke both French and Spanish fluently, asked to take a test of basic English skills. Obviously there is something wrong with this process if so many fluent English speakers are being singled out. I, as a parent, felt insulted. But I think the eloquent words of Lori Phanachone make the boldest statement against the ludicrous practice of testing anyone who speaks another language at home.
"For example, in the speaking part of the test the instructor asked me to describe the chair I was sitting in. Then I was shown a picture and asked to write one sentence about the picture. I have a 3.9 GPA and am ranked 7th in my graduating class. I was told that the test is to prove that I am able to speak, write, read, and comprehend English. My response was, "Have I not proved myself for the past 13 plus years? For the school and federal government to throw this test in my face, when I could have aced it in first grade, is wrong. Someone told me last year to put English as my first language when I registered for school, but I refuse to do so. I will not deny who I am and will not disrespect my culture or my mother,"

View the full article here.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"they are not becoming fluent in English..."

I have long been a supporter of foreign language immersion programs for children. Time and again immersion in a second language, especially at a young age, has shown itself to be the quickest and most effective method for learning a second language. Many students have benefited from learning a second language in this manner and have become successfully bilingual. However, it is important to remember that there are two different types of language students in the US; native English speakers who are learning a second language and native speakers of another language who are learning English. The reasons for language learning in these two groups are different as are the needs of each group. The first group learns a second language for the added benefit bilingualism will bring, the latter for the pure necessity of it. The native English-speakers will learn a second language and will not lose their native language because it is the dominant language of the country in which they live. They are surrounded by English.

Native speakers of another language can easily lose their native language if not continuously exposed to it. Young immigrants, who attend English-only schools frequently fail to achieve an advanced level in their language, have limited vocabulary and rarely learn to write in that language. What a tremendous loss for children who could easily have become bilingual. But on the flip side, those same students take much longer to learn English when placed in transitional classrooms in which the majority of their day is taught in their native language and in which they are grouped with other students who share the same native language. This is the very issue that has caused many districts to rethink their bilingual programs and has spread so much concern about the cost versus the benefit of such programs.

District officials in Commerce City, Colorado have become concerned by this as reported by The Denver Post yesterday:

Fifty-four percent of Adams 14's 6,500 students are English-language learners, and recent studies have shown they are not becoming fluent in English as they move through the district.

"The majority of students who have been in the district for six years still remain limited in proficiency of English," said Superintendent Sue Chandler in a letter to parents. "There is little indication of progress in literacy and language."

Chandler said the district is ditching its bilingual policy that was "overly proscriptive" and moving to a flexible policy that will "allow the district to develop a program to best meet the needs of all students who are acquiring English."

"The fact is we haven't changed it yet," Albright said about the new language policy. "But we know we need to do something better."

It is doubtful that Commerce City is alone in confronting this issue. There is obviously a problem about many of these bilingual programs that needs to be addressed. It is unfair for these students to lag so far behind their peers in English. But what system would work better? I can only imagine that the "correct solution" would vary widely by community. But whatever solution is created needs to take into account both English language acquisition and native language maintenance. Only in this way are we truly educating these students to their full capacity.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Website of the week

There's a new website/blog dedicated to raising bilingual children called Spanglish Baby. Spanglish Baby was started by two mom's Roxana and Ana Lilian who are working through the challenge of raising bilingual children. Here is some of what you can find on the website:
Daily Learning: What our kids teach us everyday and what we learn through others on the same mission.

Ask an Expert: Readers get their questions answered by a variety of experts.

Must Reads: Informative posts about bilingualism and relevant topics.

Reviews & Recommendations: Books, music, movies, toys, etc…We tell you what we like and don’t and why.

The Culture of Food: Recipes we find and share. Food brings us closer to our culture.

Traditions & Culture: Ways of keeping our native traditions alive at home.

Your Story: We invite you to share your family story with us. How are you doing it?
They also have an online store where you can purchase educational Spanish and bilingual resources. Not to mention, I will soon be featured as one of their experts on bilingual education! So be sure to check them out.

Monday, March 02, 2009

SF provides language programs for all

Wouldn't it be great if all children had access to foreign language programs. Well, in San Francisco they soon will. The school board passed the resolution on December 12, 2006 stating,
"Preparing students for our world of multilingualism and multiculturism has become an integral and indispensable part of the educational process.”
It appears the SF school district is well on its way way to achieving its goal of providing language opportunities to all of its students. I'm happy to hear that SFUSD has made such a bold step and hope that others will soon follow.

View full article here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Finding Qualified Bilingual Teachers

So your district wants to start a language immersion program or you want to start a charter school with an immersion program. You may find yourself with a big problem. No, I'm not talking about funding, although that can be a big problem too. I'm talking about hiring qualified, credentialed, native-speaking teachers. It may seam easy but it isn't. Yes, there are a lot of Spanish speakers in the US but that doesn't necessarily translate into lots of Spanish-speaking teachers. The same is true for any language.

As I have mentioned before, in order to become a teacher one must receive a BA, complete a course of study to become certified and pass several exams, all conducted in English. Now this makes a lot of sense if the teacher will be conducting class in English but teachers in immersion classes are not conducting class in English. They are using French or Spanish or Mandarin or any other myriad of languages. Most of the teachers of these languages speak English just fine but not at the level necessary to pass exams and write academic papers.

Now, if your child were in an English only classroom, would you be ok with a teacher who had the equivalent of an 8th grade level in English? A teacher who didn't know how to spell properly, couldn't write and made frequent grammar mistakes? Due to the English language requirements for getting a teaching credential, many of the most qualified bilingual teachers are unable to teach in the US. I do want to mention that there are those bilingual teachers who are credentialed and who have an appropriate level in the language of instruction but far too often that is not the case. Some bilingual teachers have never taken a formal class in their native language because they grew up in the US and were not fortunate enough to have been provided with a bilingual education.

As more and more districts begin to expand their number of bilingual schooling options they are facing the need to hire qualified teachers. Such is the case in Maryland where language immersion programs have been poping up. Finding the right people doesn't seem to be the hard part, its getting them certified.
"We don't want to diminish the certification, certification is very important," said Bill Reinhard with the Maryland State Department of Education. "But there are ways of speeding certification along."

Providing flexibility in teaching certification, the task force hopes, could help schools utilize the language talents of first-, second- or third- generation Americans.
Yes, we are going to need to reevaluate how we certify our teachers and create ways for getting around the language barrier facing many of our most qualified immersion teachers. However, with increase of bilingual programs we just might be able to produce our own bilingual teachers right here in the USA. Wouldn't that be great.

See full article here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Looking for a bilingual school?

For all the parents out there looking for a great language immersion program for your child, The Center for Applied Lingustics has a searchable database of many schools that offer bilingual programs, both immersion and two-way. There are several schools missing, especially the newer ones. But it is a great place to start.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Resources for Bilingual Families

Looking for articles, support and forums about raising bilingual or multilingual children? Here are three great ones. Let us know if you have any sites to share with us.

Bilingual/Bicultural Family Network

Bilingual Families Connect

Multilingual Children's association

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mandarin on the Rise in Vancouver

Mandarin is the growing trend in Vancouver as more and more citizens sign themselves and their children up for Mandarin classes.
On February 16, the Vancouver school board voted unanimously, in principle, to start Mandarin learning in at least one elementary school by September 2010, B.C. Parents for Mandarin spokesperson Lara Honrado told the Straight. This follows similar steps taken by North Vancouver and Burnaby, which will both start Mandarin in some kindergartens over the next two years, she said.
So why Mandarin and why now? According to the article
Vancouver sits across the water from economic tigers China and India; the city was built on Coast Salish land; and in several Vancouver neighbourhoods, Chinese is the mother tongue of more residents than English or French.
And aside from demographics and proximity to China there are many other factors that are encouraging parents to push for more Mandarin bilingual programs.
Suzanne Nelson [is] a member of the newly created Burnaby branch of B.C. Parents for Mandarin. Nelson describes herself as Caucasian and speaks English and high-school French. Her three-year-old son, Josiah, is half Chinese and speaks, so far, English. She would like him to grow up speaking Mandarin. First, she said, so he can communicate with his peers. Second, because it’s his heritage language. Third, to open a world of career opportunities to him when he grows up.
As more cities begin to embrace bilingualism and education in more than one language they will need to look at other models. So what cities out there have already figured it all out? Is there such a place? The search begins for the city with the best bilingual school system.

View full article here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Language learning on the rise!

Here is an uplifting article from the Miami Herald titled, "A bilingual future: More parents are sending their kids to language classes". Could it be that attitudes are changing right before our eyes?

''When I started in 1973, teaching language was a home thing. You did it to maintain culture,'' says Lourdes Rovira, former director of bilingual programs of Miami-Dade Public Schools. "Now parents are looking at it as an essential skill in a global economy. It's been taken out of the family tradition and become an economic decision.''

View the full article here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Website of the week

Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition

Check out CARLA. A great resource for teachers, administrators, parents and anyone with an interest in language acquisition. They have endless resources including teaching aids, assessment tools as well as conferences and seminars for teachers of ESL and foreign languages.
Language Resource Centers

CARLA is one of 15 Title VI Language Resource Centers funded through the U.S. Department of Education. The purpose of the Language Resource Centers is to:

•establish, strengthen and operate national language resource and training centers
•improve the nation's capacity to teach and learn foreign languages effectively
•disseminate information about foreign language teaching and learning

Other Language Resource Centers

Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research (CALPER)
- The Pennsylvania State University

The Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS)
- University of Oregon

Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language & Literacy (CERCLL)
- University of Arizona

Center for Language Education and Research (CLEAR)
- Michigan State University

Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR)
- Indiana University

Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC)
- San Diego State University

National African Language Resource Center (NALRC)
- University of Wisconsin at Madison

National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC)
- Georgetown University
- Center for Applied Linguistics
- George Washington University

National East Asian Languages Resource Center (NEALRC)
- The Ohio State University

National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC)
- University of Hawai'i at Manoa

National Heritage Language Resource Center (NHLRC)
- University of California, Los Angeles

National K-12 Foreign Language Resource Center (NK-12FLRC)
- Iowa State University

National Middle East Language Resource Center NMELRC)
- Brigham Young University

South Asia Language Resource Center (SALRC)
- University of Chicago

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bilingual Work Force in Demand

Yet another article about the growing demand for a bilingual workforce. For many of us this doesn't come as a surprise. We have long known the advantage bilingual people have in the workforce. It appears that even small town America is now feeling the pinch. In The Mount Airy News article from Surry County, North Carolina, Morgan Wall writes,
In Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte, there are more than 700 international business firms. In the Triad, there are more than 200. These companies represent more than 40 countries and employ more than 60,000 people.
Almost every other country in the world has its students begin a second or even third language in grade school, the equivalent of elementary school. U.S. students are being forced to compete against these students from other countries who can offer more to companies.
Back in December 2006, in the Time magazine article, "How to Bring our Schools out of the 20th Century", Claudia Wallis wrote about our outdated educational system that fails to produce workers who can handle the new demands of a global marketplace. Most important to the article were the interviews with CEO's about the types of skills they look for in workers. Among the required skills is knowledge of foreign languages.
Mike Eskew, CEO of UPS, talks about needing workers who are "global trade literate, sensitive to foreign cultures, conversant in different languages"--not exactly strong points in the U.S., where fewer than half of high school students are enrolled in a foreign-language class and where the social-studies curriculum tends to fixate on U.S. history.
It is clear that we need to provide foreign language instruction to our children at a much younger age. The only question is how are we going to make that happen?

Mount Airy News article

Times Article

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rise of bilingual schools in Wales

It appears that all around the globe parents are realizing the endless benefits of bilingual education and schools are stepping up to the task of providing more language options.
Around 80% of parents who send their children to Welsh-medium schools don't speak the language themselves.

In Northern Ireland the figure is even higher - 90%.

So why the rise?

For many parents, sending their children to a Welsh-medium school is viewed as a way of reclaiming part of their culture which wasn't available when they were young and the sector was much smaller.
Others are acutely aware of the impressive exam results delivered by many Welsh-medium schools, while for some, the changing face of Wales and the post devolution world could explain their choice..

Of course, it shouldn't come as a surprise that progress doesn't come without a struggle.
In Cardiff, Welsh-medium schools are all heavily oversubscribed and the local authority is currently attempting to institute an ambitious city-wise reorganisation plan which takes into account this swing towards education in Welsh.
But it has been highly controversial - initial attempts to close some English-medium schools with falling rolls has met with huge opposition.

View the full article here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Good news for bilingual education in California

While it is sad that $8 billion will be cut from the state's education programs, current bilingual programs will not be touched. The San Jose Mercury News reported that
Under the proposal, about $6 billion worth of programs — including school lunches, class-size reduction and bilingual education — cannot be cut or have their funding shifted.
This is quite surprising given the attitude towards bilingual education in California that resulted in the passage of prop 227 and the dismantling of the majority state's bilingual programs in 1998. I am curious as to how bilingual education was spared the axe on the chopping block of Calfornia's budget. I would like to know who to thank.
View full article here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tamaulipas Becomes First Mexican Bilingual State

Without fanfare but with great hopes, the Texas border state of Tamaulipas has declared itself the first bilingual state in Mexico, deciding that its 320,000 public school students, from elementary to high school, will learn conversational English.
I just have to ask, if Mexico can do this, why can't we?
View article here.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Children forced to sign English-only contract

A substitute teacher in a special ed math class decided to have her students sign a contract stating they would not be able to speak any language besides English.
“This is an English speaking school and classroom -- any other [sic] language other than English will not be tolerated,” the document states. It also informs students that they had to sign the paper -- that their signatures would count as a test grade.

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to Vineland Superintendent, Charles Ottinger, to remind him that English-only policies are illegal. However, Ottinger stated that they were not aware this had happened and don't condone such a policy.

You can view the full article here.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Texas court delays overhaul of ESL and bilingual programs

From a Houston Chronicle article:
McALLEN, Texas — A federal appeals court has delayed an overhaul of bilingual and English-as-a-second-language programs in Texas schools. Last year, U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice had ruled that Texas schools had failed middle and high school students with limited English.

So here's the problem:
Texas students receive bilingual education through sixth grade then switch to ESL classes, but the state lacks clear standards to evaluating the ESL programs.

What's wrong with this picture? Why are students from bilingual education classes switching to ESL classes? Assuming that these students have been in the school system since kindergarten, this is completely unacceptable. There has to be a severe problem with their bilingual education model if students are not actually becoming bilingual. The goal of bilingual programs is to create bilingual and biliterate students who can perform at grade level in both languages. There is no excuse for the failure to teach English at grade level to bilingual students. It is a sorry disgrace when students who have been raised in the United States are placed in ESL classes after six years of schooling.

David Hinojosa, who filed a lawsuit against the state was disappointed by the delay, saying,
"Texas has a monitoring issue that allows thousands and thousands of failing students to fall through the cracks. Unless things change, they'll continue to be lost in a system that fails them."

So why the delay? Texas Education Agency Spokeswoman, Suzanne Marchman stated
This gives the Legislature a chance to take a look at any laws they might want to pass to address the issue before we're forced to make decisions.

With this dire situation in front of them, they better work fast.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

US English Misguided Point #2

According to US English:

Official English is pro-immigrant

A Department of Education study showed that those who do not know English earn only half as much as those who do. Moreover, knowledge of English is essential to the assimilation process.

Well, yes, I have to agree that it is helpful to learn English in order to get a good job and good jobs often pay a bit more than lousy jobs. In fact, no one understands just how important learning English is than the immigrants themselves. But I am a bit confused by how making English the official language of the United States is actually going to help anyone learn English. It will still take years for immigrants to learn English, probably about the same amount of time it took immigrants to learn English over 100 years ago. Not much has changed in our brain's capacity to learn language since then.

The reason this second point is misguided is because it assumes immigrants don't want to learn English and that by only providing government and social services in English, immigrants will be forced to learn English faster. It doesn't exactly work that way. Although most immigrants have a strong desire to learn English, it isn't always easy to find the time to do so. It also requires money for books and classes or finding a free class that isn't already full or compatible with your work schedule. Learning English also requires lots of practice. Sometimes this is the hardest because what English speaker will be kind enough to sit down with you and allow you to try out your new vocabulary. And maybe you don't even know an English speaker well enough to ask them. And lastly, some people simply might not have a talent for languages and find it extremely difficult to learn a new one. I know plenty of English speakers who fall into this category.

So instead of worrying about passing legislation that takes away important services for immigrants in languages they can understand, perhaps they should focus their energy on increasing the numbers of free classes available to English language learners and creating programs that provide language tutoring. Most immigrants want to learn English. It's time to be constructive not destructive.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

US English Scare Tactic #1

In its mission to make English the official language of the US, US English has set out to clarify why we should all be so concerned about not making it the official language.

US English Scare Tactic #1 (I mean- talking point #1)
Official English promotes unity

There are 322 languages spoken in the United States. How are immigrants going to communicate with each other and with native born Americans if we all speak a different language?

Sometimes it surprises me how seemingly intelligent people recall so little about their own nation's history. English promotes unity? How quickly they forgot all about the civil war. Interestingly, the bloodiest war in our nation's history actually was between people who spoke the same language. Are we somehow all supposed to magically get along just by speaking English? An interesting notion but one that has never proven to be true.

Africans brought to this country learned English. Did that bring them unity with whites. Well, not exactly. There was something called "slavery" that kept them separated and unequal. The ability to speak English didn't do them a whole lot of good back then. In fact, I seam to recall that the Irish also faced harsh treatment by other "native" English speakers. But if they spoke English, why didn't they all treat each other respectfully and feel united in the English language. Could it be that unity doesn't have anything to do with language?

In fact, some of the most peaceful countries are actually multilingual. Switzerland comes to mind. Don't they have four official languages? And there are plenty of other multilingual countries that don't seam to be roiled in strife.I guess they manage to get along somehow. Oh, now I remember, they teach their children more than one language in school. That's right, becoming multilingual can actually make you more tolerant and respectful of others. And isn't that what leads to peace on earth?

I guess this whole "unity" thing might not be the best argument for the U.S. English cause. Maybe tomorrow we'll see what else they have up their sleeve.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Worried about speech delay in your bilingual child?

Well, don't worry! Bilingual children all over the world are growing and developing just fine. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has some great advice for worried parents.
Will learning two languages cause speech or language problems?

No. Children all over the world learn more than one language without developing speech or language problems. Bilingual children develop language skills just as other children do.

What should I expect when my child learns more than one language?

Every bilingual child is unique. Developing skills in two languages depends on the quality and amount of experience the child has using both languages. The following are some basic guidelines:

•Like other children, most bilingual children speak their first words by the time they are 1 year old (e.g., "mama" or "dada"). By age 2, most bilingual children can use two-word phrases (e.g., "my ball" or "no juice"). These are the same language developmental milestones seen in children who learn only one language.
•From time to time, children may mix grammar rules, or they might use words from both languages in the same sentence. This is a normal part of bilingual language development.
•When a second language is introduced, some children may not talk much for a while. This "silent period" can sometimes last several months. Again, this is normal and will go away.
If my child is having trouble communicating, should we use only one language?

In this case, it's best to talk to your child in the language you're most comfortable with. This is true even if he or she uses a different language at school. But try not to make a sudden change in your child's routine. This can be stressful.

Children who are having problems in both languages may need professional help.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obama's Agenda for Bilingual Education

From the new Education Agenda of the Obama administration:

Support English Language Learners: Obama and Biden support transitional bilingual education and will help Limited English Proficient students get ahead by holding schools accountable for making sure these students complete school.

Now I am not a big fan of transitional bilingual education programs. My concern is that they are not optimum for producing bilingual and biliterate citizens. If these programs are designed to simply teach children English then there are probably better, more effective ways of doing that. After all, in order to teach a target language, shouldn't instruction be mostly in that language? Children also don't attain the advantages of full biliteracy because, in transitional programs, instruction in their native language is cut short, not usually continuing past the third grade.

Transitional Bilingual Education seems to be the program of choice for politicians as it is the least threatening form of bilingual education. We can safely say to our more conservative counterparts that we support transitional bilingual education because it helps transition immigrants into mainstream English classes. I wish, for once, that we could say that we support bilingual education because we want all of our citizens to be bilingual. If that were actually the case then Transitional Programs would probably not be our priority. We would focus our energy on expanding dual-immersion programs, in which English-speakers and speakers of another language would be mixed together in order for both groups to become bilingual.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy that bilingual education is even on the agenda. But I would be even happier if we could take that next step and ensure that all children in the US had the opportunity to learn another language. Of course, with Obama in the White House, I still have HOPE!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Center for Applied Linguisitcs

The center for applied linguistics is a great resource for teachers, parents and researchers interested in learning more about language learning and other related issues. They have a variety of articles and guides that are quite useful. Check them out at

Friday, January 23, 2009

NABE's beautiful slogan!

The National Association for Bilingual Education has this slogan on their website:



I think it's beautiful!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nashville voters reject English-only measure

Nashville voters rejected a measure that would have made English the official language of the city. The measure would have mandated that all government services be provided only in English. The measure stated,
"No person shall have a right to government services in any other language,"
Approximately 73,000 of the city's 613,632 residents speak another language besides English at home. The defeat of Nashville's English-Only measure was yet another blow to xenophobia and discrimination. Thank you Nashville residents!
See the full article here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Arne Duncan for Secretary of Education?

Maybe there is something I'm missing, but I'm not exactly sure why Obama chose Arne Duncan as the new Secretary of Education. Now I don't know a whole lot about him but of what I know:

-He has never taught children, or teens, or anyone.
-He has a BA in Sociology.
-He has no teacher or administrative credentials.
-He started a program that paid students to get A's.
-He bribed students to show up on the first day of school with tickets to sports games? For real?!!!

Of course he did get test scores up and increased the graduation rate but I'm pretty sure I could do the same if I paid people to study and gave prizes just for coming to school. But is that really what we want? I know I can get my kids to do a whole lot more chores when enticed by a candy or a sticker. But I'm not sure that's what I want to teach my children.

Now, I usually think Obama a pretty smart guy, but I just have to ask, wasn't there anyone more qualified for the job? Someone who has some understanding of teaching and learning, child development, the history of educational practice and policy and a solid understanding of why bribery cannot be our long term educational goal. I realize there need to be some serious changes to our educational practices. Our system needs an overhaul to get us into the 21st century. For now I'll be putting my trust in President Obama's decision, and if that $4,000 for all A's goes national, I'll be hoping my kids get straight A's for the next 8 years.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama on Bilingual Education

We are just hours away from Obama's inauguration. There is much to look forward to in this momentous moment for our country. Among other things is Obama's belief in bilingualism and the impact bilingual citizens have on our country's future success. This quote was from a meeting with a group of high school students,

Obama was asked about bilingual education, especially given current climate of immigration. Obama believes that everyone should be bilingual or even “trilingual.” “When we as a society do a really bad job teaching foreign languages – it is costing us when it comes to being competitive in a global marketplace,” he said.

View the full article here.