Monday, December 3, 2012

Assistant Secretary of OCR Steps Down

Assistant Secretary of OCR Steps Down
(Contributed by Dr. Eleni Pappamihiel)

This week the head Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced that she would step down from that role at the end of the November. This event is especially relevant for those who work with English language learners (ELLs). Whenever ELLs are not receiving the educational services they are entitled to, or it is believed they are being discriminated against at school, a complaint is filed with the OCR. While we would like to see such issues resolved at the school or district level, OCR is always there to investigate complaints that are not effectively mediated at those levels.
The most recent head of OCR, Russlynn Ali, was criticized for being over-aggressive in investigating complaints and overly inferring in schools’ disciplinary policies.  It will be interesting to see who takes over this position, and if this new person will be as aggressive in holding schools accountable for the fair treatment of all students.

Mexican and U.S. Schools

Mexican and U.S. Schools
The Term Paper (Piton Foundation)

The link below is to an issue of an online magazine published by the Piton Foundation in May 2004. This issue covers the Mexican school system and how that translates to the U.S. school system. With the immigration population growing exponentially in the U.S. and the majority of immigrants coming from Latino communities, I felt that this article provided some good advice. Instead of working as separate entities within the education spectrum we should strive to understand our peers in Mexico in order to better serve their students. You’ll come to understand teacher behavior (in Mexico), parents’ hopes for their children, and teaching strategies used by the San Diego County School System. I particularly like the teaching strategies this article discusses; for example, working with the Mexican government to create available resources for students and allotting two hours each week for content to be taught in Spanish for ELLs. This is an area in which I think we’ll start to see a lot of growth if collaboration continues between U.S. and Mexican education systems. (pdf)

(reviewed by Matt Hilton)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Welcome to the ESL Goes Mainstream Blog!

Welcome to the ESL Goes Mainstream blog! This blog is coordinated through the Educating Language Minority Students (ELMS) Project. The ELMS Project is a five-year grant funded through the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), Department of Education. Our mission is to provide professional development for in-service and pre-service teachers in North Carolina, ensuring that teachers in our community will be better prepared to improve academic outcomes for English Language Learners (ELLs) in their classrooms.

The key to success for both teachers and students is sharing in a community of learning and support. We hope this blog will provide a forum for a rich exchange of ideas and teaching strategies for supporting ELLs. We also want to share the progress of the ELMS Project with the ESL community in our state and beyond.

To find out more about the ELMS Project, go to