Monday, May 23, 2011

ESL: Is Improvement at Hand?

On the US Department of Education's blog post, titled: 
ED Wraps Up National Conversations on English Learner Education

Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA)
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE)
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (WHIEEH)

Who knew there are so many special offices/accounts dealing with educational issues? I feel like I've been missing the action somewhere along the line. All these "offices" are having/holding "conversations" and I didn't even know anyone was talking!! It's as though all the old "offices" in existence long before President G.W. Bush came into office have suddenly re-emerged under new names, or have been reborn and celebrated under old ones. Glad to see there have been conversations among these areas and others since April. It may only be a month's worth of conversations, but I'm glad they're occurring. 

ESL has been in need of serious revamping for decades. It's good to see that the idea of putting together programs and creating adequate, appropriate testing are being seriously discussed again. I just wonder if the conversations will lead to action in my lifetime. I may be old, but I'm not that old yet. With the speed at which education normally moves, however, will I still be around when real change occurs?

Here's the link:
ED Wraps Up National Conversations on English Learner Education

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reading: The Foundation of a Good Education

Among the "more you can do" is arithmetic and mathematics. A student needs to be able to read directions, example text, and word problems to move ahead in math; and longitudinal data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) indicate an almost perfect relationship between math and reading scores. It is a fallacy that students can be proficient in math even if their reading skills are low. Rather, a student with math scores that are disproportionately higher than his/her reading scores is the exception, and represents an infinitesimally small percentage of the student population.

On another note, my granddaughter is involved in TTRR (which is a program discussed in this government post), or a very similar program, and reads well over 100 grade-level-and-above books per year. Although she complains that one of her friends attains higher numbers by reading “easy” books, she still feels an incredible sense of accomplishment each year. My only critique of the TTRR program is that it still tends to leave low SES kids in the dust. And now that RIF (Reading is Fundamental) has lost funding to give needy kids their own reading books, my fear is that the academic achievement gap between poor and middle-class kids will become even wider each year.

Reading: The Foundation of a Good Education

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Recognizing Education's Middle School Syndrome

For decades, educational researchers have felt like Cassandra--heralding the symptoms of school dropout, but being ignored. Will this diverse panel of educationalists finally get the word through to school boards and others who clench tightly the education purse strings? It is so much cheaper to educate a child to begin with than to try to remediate; yet I firmly believe that we can still turn around the potential dropout during middle school, despite the fact that many dropouts start planning their exit strategies before the 8th grade.

Click the national education department's blog link for more.

Recognizing Education's Middle School Syndrome