Archive for October, 2009

Californian’s Together Offers Seal of Biliteracy Implementation Workshops

Seal of Biliteracy Award

Recognizing Biliteracy

The educational advocacy group Californian’s Together is offering two Seal of Biliteracy implementation workshops for school officials and community members who would like more information on adopting a Seal of Biliteracy award in their local school district. The Seal of Biliteracy is awarded to students who have achieved proficiency in two languages by the end of high school and appears on the student’s high school diploma and official transcripts. The workshop will focus on a step-by-step process for adopting the Seal of Biliteracy in California school districts.

The first workshop will be held at the Glendale Unified School District on October 27, 2009. An additional Northern California workshop will take place at the Sobrato Conference Center in San Jose, Ca on November 12, 2009. Both workshops will be held from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and cost $20 per person.

You can find more information about the  implementation workshops on the Californian’s Together website or call Shelly Spiegal-Coleman at 562-983-1333.

Categories: Uncategorized

Winner-Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism

The winner of the “Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism” books is: Ann Meola!

Please send your mailing address to no later thank this Friday. Thee book will be mailed as soon as possible!

Thanks to those who participated in the giveaway-stay tuned because there will be other giveaways soon!!

Have a great day!

Categories: Uncategorized

Lack of Support in Bilingual Education Programs

October 24, 2009 4 comments

Over the past couple of days I went to Sacramento, California to participate on a standard-setting committee with a group of bilingual educators, the California Department of Education, and Educational Testing Services (ETS). What is a standard-setting committee you ask? It’s basically a committee that works on creating expectations for assessments. In this case, we were setting standards for what would be considered advanced, proficient, basic, below basic, and far below basic for the Standards-based Test in Spanish (STS),  the Spanish equivalent to the California Standards Test that is administered each school year to students in California schools.

Throughout the committee meeting, I met a number of teachers who spoke with me about their bilingual programs. I was dismayed to learn that a large percentage of the teachers had once been bilingual teachers, but are now currently teaching in English settings because their bilingual programs had been dismantled. Other teachers discussed with me that they are unaware as to which type of bilingual program within which they teach because they have been given little direction from their school districts or school administrators about the program model design and expectations for their bilingual program. This is upsetting to me, to say the least.

It’s disconcerting to me that bilingual teachers are not given guidance as to how many minutes they should teach in each subject, which subjects should be taught in each language, what materials should be used, and so on. If a bilingual program is bound to fail, it will most definitely be a bilingual program that does not have clear guidelines regarding program implementation. So I have decided to work on a future post about the critical components that are essential for the success of each and every bilingual education program.

So this is now my newest goal-to blog a bit about the critical components of effective bilingual education programs. I’d also like to include a couple of posts for parents so that they can ask the right questions and demand that our bilingual programs receive the support that they need.

If you are a bilingual teacher or a parent of a student in a bilingual program who has a story to tell about the lack of support in your bilingual program, please contact me by leaving a comment here or by emailing me at I am interested in hearing a variety of perspectives on this issue, and I will of course keep you anonymous if you choose. On the other hand, if you are a parent or bilingual teacher who has been blessed with a tremendous amount of support within your bilingual program, I would also like to hear your story!

Categories: Bilingual Education

Giveaway: Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism

October 20, 2009 11 comments

51ychk4hhxlI’ve blogged in the past about what is in my opinion one of the most comprehensive books out there regarding bilingual education and bilingualism. Now I’ll be giving one away to a lucky reader this week!!

The book is a bilingual education enthusiast’s dream come true. It’s easily accessible and interesting to both the bilingual education expert as well as someone just beginning to learn about bilingual education. It covers topics ranging from: bilingual language development, bilingualism and cognition, second language acquisition theories, history of bilingual education, bilingual education program models, bilingual education research and effectiveness, assessment of bilingual learners, deaf bilingual learners, bilingual special education, the politics of bilingualism, and many other topics.

If you are a bilingual teacher, bilingual administrator, a student learning about bilingual education, a parent raising a bilingual child, or a person interested in second language acquisition..this is the book for you!

I blogged in the past more extensively about the topics in each chapter, which you can read here. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I think that this book is one of the most comprehensive books about bilingual education and bilingualism that I have encountered!!

You can enter your name into the giveaway in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Leave a comment in the comment section about why this book is relevant to your life
  2. Tweet about the giveaway and leave your twitter name in the comment section
  3. Write about it on facebook, and leave a comment here that you did so
  4. Blog about the giveaway and leave your blog url in the comment section
  5. Leave a url of your favorite blog or website about bilingualism in the comment section
  6. Leave a comment about your favorite materials and resources that you use to teach a language other than English

You have up to six opportunities to enter your name into the giveway. Your name will be entered once if you leave a comment, twice if you perform two of the above, etc. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

The giveaway will end on Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. The winner must be located in the United States.

Categories: Bilingualism

The Importance of Raising Bilingual Children

October 19, 2009 2 comments

This video on youtube discusses the importance of raising bilingual children and offers a few tips for parents as to how they might raise bilingual children. The video mostly shows the study of Italian, but the tips for parents can be applied to any other language that parents choose to emphasize. Some of the suggestions for parents include: foreign language classes, care-takers who speak another language, play through a foreign language, and study through technology and the internet.

You Might Also Like:

Raise a Bilingual Child the Fun and Easy Way

Books About Raising Bilingual Children

Categories: Bilingualism

U.S. English Spreads Lies and Misconceptions About Dual Immersion Programs

Today I came upon a podcast from the U.S. English organization. U.S. English is exactly what it sounds like-a racist organization (who also uses self-hating token people of color) designed to promote English-only education and legislation. The podcast outlines the disadvantages of Dual Immersion education, programs which integrate English and Spanish speakers in order to promote bilingualism and biliteracy.

In the podcast, the representative makes a few statements about Dual Immersion that facilitate misconceptions about dual language programs. His racism clearly slips out when he discusses that the large number of Spanish-speakers in the United States is not a strategic reason as to why we should have Spanish-English programs. In other words he says what all good little racists propose, “Those people need to learn English”.

Before you listen to the podcast, I just want to remind you of a few things and address some of the misconceptions in the podcast:

  • There are many Dual Immersion programs that promote English and a language other than Spanish. There are many programs that build biliteracy in Chinese, Korean, French, etc. In order to have a Dual Immersion program, you need to have native-speakers of the target language within each classroom that serve as language models for English-speaking students. If there are few native-speakers of Chinese in a certain area, it is not feasible to have a Dual Immersion program.
  • At one point the speaker states that it’s “not fair” for a Vietnamese student to be placed in a Dual Immersion program and forced to learn Spanish and English. I just blogged yesterday about the fact that students are not arbitrarily placed in a bilingual education program. It’s always been a big lie spread by anti-bilingual education wackos that students are forced into bilingual programs and are not allowed out of the program.
  • The speaker states that by teaching two languages, Dual Immersion programs spend “less time” teaching Science, Math and History than other programs. Absolutely false. One of the main tenets of Dual Immersion education is that language is taught through content, meaning that students learn content (i.e. Science, Social Studies, etc) as they simultaneously learn English and the target language (i.e., Spanish, Chinese, etc).  In fact, due to the No Child Left Behind Act, many programs, including English-only programs, throughout the nation have restricted their programs to only teaching Language Arts and Math for the purpose of raising test scores. If there are any Dual Immersion programs that are being forced to restrict their instructional minutes to the exclusive teaching of Language Arts and Math, it is as a result of the pressure of standardized testing and NOT because it is a Dual Immersion program.  It has been my personal experience that Dual Immersion programs actually teach MORE Science and Social Studies than the traditional classroom.

Please listen to the podcast and spread the word about the lies that U.S. English is spreading about Dual Immersion programs. Please don’t think that this organization is not a threat to our Dual Immersion programs, because they are.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Categories: Dual Immersion

A Proposition 227 Story

I found a video on youtube about Proposition 227, the anti-bilingual initiative in the late 90s that was designed to restrict bilingual education programs in California. The law seriously impacted bilingual education programs throughout the state. It’s important to remember though that bilingual education is not against the law in California, and parents may request a parental exception waiver to participate in bilingual education programs. Many parent sin various districts throughout the state are unaware of their rights, which I blogged about in the past here.

Categories: Bilingual Education