Saturday, April 20, 2013

More Equity Needed for ELLs - MALDEF Leader Requests Commission

Recently the U.S. Government released a report, Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality, that made recommendations for programs and spending that would address inequities in educational quality for students living in poverty.  Recommendations included:

  • Urging the U.S. Department of Education to design a Race to the Top competition to reward states that overhaul school funding formulas that would distribute money based on the actual needs of students and not where their schools are located.
  • Pushing for more federal civil rights investigations and compliance reviews of states and schools districts where disparities in per-pupil spending, as well as in distribution of resources such as access to college-preparatory courses and effective teachers, have been persistent.

Thomas A. Saenz, the president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) said that more attention needed to be paid to the needs of ELLs, which weren't addressed in this report.  He wants a commission to look at how Federal Title III funds - designed to meet the needs of ELLs- can be used more effectively and equitably between states.  There are issues with how students are counted and also how funds are used to address needs.  Some states, such as New Jersey, do a "weighted" funding support model and provide up to $4,000 - $5,000 more per school to more realistically address the costs associated with educating ELLs.   
For more detailed information click this link to the article:  Federal Commission for ELLs.  I'm hoping with the increased focus on ELD and Common Core standards and the awareness that ELLs aren't going to achieve by receiving the same level of support and kinds of instruction they've been receiving, that there will be some increased political pressure to investigate what works and require consistent application of the findings.

Monday, April 15, 2013


This weekend I had the opportunity to network with dedicated, talented, energetic ESL teachers from a variety of grade levels.  We had the MinneTESOL Elementary Group "Spring Fling" and the theme was advocacy.  My favorite!  Teachers discussed their teaching situations, how to use data to improve ELL support, effective instructional practices and much more.  We were also honored to share the Spring Fling event with a newly formed standing committee, "MinneSLIFE" - (Students with Limited Interrupted Formal Education) and they had packed sessions on refugee issues and effective instruction for students with low academic skills.  I'm going to post links to my powerpoints and begin sharing more research and resources on advocacy.  I've been inspired and I realize there is so much advocacy teachers are trying to do on their own and anything I can do to share resources will help.  Please let me know if there is anything you're especially interested in to help you with your advocacy activities!