Learning the Language

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu Dec 18 16:25:11 UTC 2008

Learning the Language

Mary Ann Zehr is an assistant editor at Education Week. She has
written about the schooling of English-language learners for more than
eight years and understands through her own experience of studying
Spanish that it takes a long time to learn another language well. Her
blog will tackle difficult policy questions, explore learning
innovations, and share stories about different cultural groups on her

Arne Duncan and English-Language Learners

I have only one clue to offer about what kind of policies Arne Duncan,
who has been nominated as the secretary of education for
President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet, might favor for
English-language learners. As the superintendent of Chicago Public
Schools, he has argued that English-language learners should have a
separate test other than the state's regular reading and math tests
for ELLs.

In the 2007-08 school year, the U.S. Department of Education required
Illinois to drop use of a plain English test for ELLs, called the the
Illinois Measure of Annual Growth in English, or IMAGE, for
calculating adequate yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind
Act. So last school year, all ELLs had to take the regular state tests
for math and reading. Scores for elementary students still rose 1
percent from the previous year after the change in policy, but Mr.
Duncan told Chicago Public Radio that ELLs still need their own
separate test.

So I speculate that as secretary of education, Mr. Duncan could be
more lenient in permitting states to use alternative tests for ELLs
than has been the case with current Secretary of Education Margaret
Spellings. Over the last few years, the Education Department has
required a number of states to stop using alternative tests for ELLs,
but has given its stamp of approval to other states for alternative
tests that it found acceptable.

Another interesting note about Mr. Duncan is that he comes from a
state that requires schools to provide bilingual education if they
have a critical mass of students who speak the same language. About 14
percent of the 408,600 students in Chicago Public Schools are
English-language learners, and many schools in that system do provide
bilingual education. Mr. Duncan should have had quite a lot of
exposure to the educational method. I don't know, though, how his
views on bilingual education line up with those of President-elect

Posted by Mary Ann Zehr on December 16, 2008 4:00 PM | Permalink


Arne Duncan has been advised,  that the Dept of Ed will soon be under
investigation by Congress due to Spellings' involvement in the induced
fraud by Western Seminary and collusion with its accreditation
agencies, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). On October
30th and November 4th two lawsuits were filed and served against
Margaret Spellings and the Department of Education over their cover up
of academic fraud and collusion with ATS and NWCCU.

A third lawsuit will be served on Spellings and others over their
concealment and/or destruction of evidences to aid and abet Western,
ATS, and NWCCU as well as further allegations of misconduct and
intentional misrepresentation. Duncan will inherit Spellings' mess.
Spellings' administration is using taxpayers' dollars to help special
interest accreditation agencies who in turned helped the school to
harm the student, Randy Chapel, and his family. Western Seminary,
Steve Korch, Gary Tuck and LynRuark are using various law firms,
insurance money and tuition from the general fund to deal with their

read more at www.educationalfraud.com


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