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English Learners

OPINION
July 11, 2010 | By Bruce Fuller
Should teachers immerse California's rainbow of students in English to close achievement gaps — a linguistic cold shower of sorts — or lift literacy by scaffolding up from their home languages? It's a false dichotomy, says Ashley Aguilar, a savvy junior at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. She must ace several English tests to enter UC Santa Barbara, her dream college. But she holds her native Spanish dear as well. "It will be better that I am bilingual," Aguilar said.
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OPINION
July 11, 2010 | By Laurie Olsen and Shelly Spiegel-Coleman
Learning more than one language is a 21st century skill. It provides students with economic opportunities across the globe and at home. Many students enter our schools fluent in a language other than English. They speak Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Farsi, Arabic, Khmer and dozens of other languages important in international trade. They come with a resource. Ideally, these students — more than 1.5 million in California who enter school speaking a language other than English — would gain English proficiency while enhancing their home language skills.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 28, 2010 | By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times
Nearly 60% of English-language learners in California's high schools have failed to become proficient in English despite more than six years of a U.S. education, according to a study released Thursday. In a survey of 40 school districts, the study found that the majority of long-term English-language learners are U.S. natives who prefer English and are orally bilingual. But they develop major deficits in reading and writing, fail to achieve the academic English needed for educational success and disproportionately drop out of high school, according to the study by Californians Together, a coalition of 22 parent, professional and civil rights organizations.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 10, 2010 | By Howard blume
The federal government has singled out the Los Angeles Unified School District for its first major investigation under a reinvigorated Office for Civil Rights, officials said Tuesday. The focus of the probe, by an arm of the U.S. Department of Education, will be whether the nation's second-largest district provides adequate services to students learning English. Officials turned their attention to L.A. Unified because so many English learners fare poorly and because they make up about a third of district enrollment, more than 220,000 students.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 29, 2009 | Anna Gorman
Nearly 30% of Los Angeles Unified School District students placed in English language learning classes in early primary grades were still in the program when they started high school, increasing their chances of dropping out, according to a new study released Wednesday. More than half of those students were born in the United States and three-quarters had been in the school district since first grade, according to the report by the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute at USC. The findings raise questions about the teaching in the district's English language classes, whether students are staying in the program too long and what more educators should do for students who start school unable to speak English fluently.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 24, 2008 | Seema Mehta, Times Staff Writer
One-third of California's 1.4 million nonnative students demonstrated enough English fluency this year to gain access to higher-level and college-prep course work, a modest improvement over last year, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Education. Increasing limited-English-speaking students' access to more rigorous classes and decreasing the achievement gap between these students and their native classmates are "moral" and "economic" imperatives, said Supt.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 1, 2006 | Carla Rivera, Times Staff Writer
Glendale teacher Rebecca Quintero spent a recent morning encouraging her fourth-graders to write about the joys of summer for an English assignment. But some of her Spanish, Armenian, Korean and Tagalog speakers were confused at how to begin and their textbook offered limited guidance. What Quintero needed, she said, was a fourth-grade book that would support students with varying degrees of English proficiency.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 12, 2006 | Carla Rivera, Times Staff Writer
A state appeals court Friday upheld California's high school exit exam, rejecting claims by students that they will be irreparably harmed if their diplomas are withheld. The decision leaves in place -- for the time being -- California's first statewide testing requirement for high school seniors, which had been years in the planning but remains a source of contention among educators, students and parents. The exam measures math and English proficiency; students must pass it to earn a diploma.
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