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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Aug. 1, 2012

Obama announces new education program focused on African Americans
msnbc    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Locked in a tough re-election battle with Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama aimed to energize his core supporters — African American voters — by delivering a rousing speech and unveiling a new executive order at the Urban League's annual convention in New Orleans. The president told the largely African American crowd of roughly 3,700 people that the executive order will seek to improve educational achievement for African Americans at all levels "so every child has greater access to a complete and competitive education from the time they're born to the time, all through the time they get a career" the president said to cheers. More
Related story: Obama's education initiative unlocks the gate for African Americans (The Huffington Post)

Biden: Teachers are 'the solution'
The Detroit News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Vice President Joe Biden said that the presidential election offers voters a stark choice between two parties in their support of public education. He said President Barack Obama is a strong supporter of teachers while Republicans in Congress have consistently rejected spending on education. "Unlike our Republican friends, we don't see you as the problem," Biden said about himself and Obama. "We see you as the solution." More

Need support to attend the TESOL convention?
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Did you know that TESOL members are eligible for TESOL travel grants from $500 to $2,500 to support travel to the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo? The deadline to apply for travel grants is 1 November. For information on travel grants and other awards and grants, please visit TESOL's website. If you have any questions, please contact TESOL Awards.

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    Developing smart listeners: Teaching student how to listen
    TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    On 27 September, Larry Vandergrift will lead a TESOL virtual seminar on developing smart listeners. The seminar begins at 10:30 am EDT and runs for 90 minutes. The registration deadline is 23 September. For more information, please visit TESOL's website.

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    TESOL announces candidates for Board of Directors, Nominating Committee
    TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    TESOL International Association has released its slate of candidates for the 2013 Board of Directors and Nominating Committee. The final ballot, which will include candidate bios, will be available in late September. Voting will begin 15 October and will end 7 January. Members will receive more information via email in August. If you have any questions about TESOL elections, please contact Rita Gainer at or 1.703.518.2507. More

    States with education waivers offer varied goals
    The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    In excusing more than half of the states from meeting crucial requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law, the Obama administration sought to require states to develop more realistic tools to improve and measure the progress of schools and teachers. A report being issued by the liberal Center for American Progress shows that while some states have proposed reforms aimed at spurring schools and teachers to improve student performance, others may be introducing weaker measures of accountability. More

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    To earn classroom certification, more teaching and less testing
    The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    New York and up to 25 other states are moving toward changing the way they grant licenses to teachers, de-emphasizing tests and written essays in favor of a more demanding approach that requires aspiring teachers to prove themselves through lesson plans, homework assignments and videotaped instruction sessions. The change is an attempt to ensure that those who become teachers not only know education theories, but also can show the ability to lead classrooms and handle students of differing abilities and needs, often amid limited resources. More

    Education secretary urges balanced budget cuts
    The Associated Press via NPR    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    Services would have to be slashed for more than 1.8 million disadvantaged students and thousands of teachers and aides would lose their jobs when automatic budget cuts kick in, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. He urged Congress to find an alternative deficit-reduction plan that won't undermine the department's ability to serve students in high-poverty schools and improve schools with high dropout rates. More
    Related story: Lawmakers explore impact of automatic cuts on education
    (Education Week)

    More states and DC receive NCLB waivers; Vermont, Alabama, Nebraska reject them
    CNN    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    The White House announced that it would grant seven additional waivers from restrictive provisions of the No Child Left Behind law. Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. will receive the newest flexibility waivers, according to a U.S. Department of Education press release. To date, 32 states and D.C. have received waivers. The NCLB law, also known as the Elementary and Secondary School Act, has many sections, and through these waivers, federal officials are allowing states to set their own standards for parts of the law. The waivers aren't an automatic reprieve from all aspects of NCLB. More

    ACT official describes 'next generation' tests
    The Chronicle of Higher Educaiton    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    After the ACT announced plans for a new assessment system, an array of provocative headlines followed. The Associated Press proclaimed: "Kindergarten Career Test in the Works by ACT." Is that an accurate description? Not really. Jon Erickson, president of the ACT's education division, stopped by The Chronicle's office to discuss the organization's plans for its new "college and career readiness" testing system, a digital assessment scheduled to make its debut in 2014. Initially, the system will span grades 3 through 12; later it will expand to cover kindergarten through the second grade. More

    For children who cannot speak, a true voice via technology
    The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    Enrique Mendez, 9, and his older brother, Cristian, 11, sorted through a plastic bin of toys in their New Jersey home. "I want to play with the wrestling guys," said Enrique in a voice not quite his own, but pretty close. Enrique has Down syndrome and speech apraxia, which means that he cannot speak, aside from a few grunts and "Ma" in the word "Mama." He was able to speak to his brother, though, with an iPad loaded with the latest version of a widely used text-to-speech application, Proloquo2Go. "The voice now matches the boy," said John Mendez, Enrique's father. More

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    Kindergartners get language boost with English immersion program
    The Japan Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    Japan: An American English teacher tells a class of 5-year-old Japanese children, each with a whiteboard and pen in hand: "Let's write down the sentence, 'I am hot.'" "Chris, put a space between 'am' and 'hot'," the teacher tells a boy, who follows the teacher's advice. "Look, I'm done!" the boy cheerily says, pointing at his whiteboard with the correct sentence on it. The class, held completely in English with a native English teacher, appears to be a scene from an international school. But the children are all Japanese and engaged in an English immersion class at private MeySen Kindergarten in Sendai. More

    Thailand behind other ASEAN nations in English language
    Pattaya Mail    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    Thailand: According to world-renowned language school Education First or EF, Thai youth are ranked number 42 in English language skill out of 44 surveyed countries. According to a research by EF on the levels of English language proficiency among youth in 44 countries, Thailand ranks 42nd, one spot lower than Cambodia. The ranking also puts the country behind other ASEAN countries, such as Vietnam at No. 39, Indonesia at No. 34, and Malaysia at No. 9. More

    San Francisco faces possible closure of adult education programs
    Alternet    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    When Eunice Kim came to City College of San Francisco in 2007, she was looking for a way up and out of the spiraling travel industry that she'd been working in for nearly 10 years. Sales were down, along with her hours, while the rent on her apartment kept climbing. Three years later, she'd landed a part-time job as a medical interpreter, helping her fellow Koreans navigate the city's complex health care system. "There aren't many Korean interpreters in the city," she explains, adding that aside from the extra income, her services had also "brought me closer to my own community." More

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    How to help ELL kids? Send parents to school
    South Coast Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    When students are struggling, try sending their parents to school. That's the idea behind the English classes being offered this summer for parents of English language learners at New Bedford High School. "To me, it's a no-brainer," said Danielle Carrigo, the district's assistant to the superintendent for equity and family engagement. Parents with stronger language skills will be more help to children struggling with homework, she said. They will also be more capable of communicating with the school about problems. More

    Survey respondents doubt Common Core tests will be ready on time
    Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    Two big groups of states are working away to design tests for the Common Standards, but some Washington insiders aren't brimming with optimism that the tests will be ready as promised, or that districts will know how to put them to good use. A new survey from Whiteboard Advisors, a Washington-based consulting group, finds that nearly half of a small group of "insiders" surveyed doubt that the two federally funded assessment consortia will roll the tests out by 2014-2015 as planned. More

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    Kids Count report: America's children are advancing despite the economy
    The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    More children are attending preschool, more elementary students are reading better and more high-schoolers are graduating on time despite the sharp economic downturn, according to a new report. Yet the increase in the number of children living in poverty, and the lagging negative effects expected from state budget cuts, are prompting advocates to call for a sharper national focus on children's well-being. More
    Related story: Rich kid, poor kid: Mixed neighborhoods could save America's schools (The Hechinger Report)

    Is the US catching up?
    Education Next    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    "The United States' failure to educate its students leaves them unprepared to compete and threatens the country's ability to thrive in a global economy." Such was the dire warning issued recently by an education task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. Chaired by former New York City schools chancellor Joel I. Klein and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, the task force said the country "will not be able to keep pace — much less lead — globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long." Along much the same lines, President Barack Obama, in his 2011 State of the Union address, declared, "We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world." More

    Texting may undermine language, spelling skills
    Psych Central News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    In a new study, researchers have determined teens that frequently use abbreviated shorthand language — that is, "techspeak" or jargon — perform poorly on grammar tests. Text messaging provides a quick way to send notes to friends and family — but the abbreviated and often phonetic script may hinder language and grammar skills, according to researchers. Tweens who frequently use language adaptations — techspeak — when they text performed poorly on a grammar test, said Drew Cingel, a doctoral candidate in media, technology and society at Northwestern University. More

    10 ways to boost your game for back-to-school
    MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    In just a few weeks, school will start again in most schools. For teachers gearing up for the new school year, here are some instructive articles that may help get new ideas flowing — everything from using free online games, free digital media tools, cellphones, Pinterest and Learnist, to creating your own textbooks. More

    The 100 best Twitter tools for teachers
    Edudemic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    In 2009, we shared our favorite tools for teachers on Twitter, with 100 resources for managing feeds, finding followers and tackling classroom groups on the social media site. Since then, many tools have been revamped, replaced, or simply aren't available anymore. Clearly, an update is in order for 2012, featuring the very best tools available to Twittering teachers today. More

    Gaming gains respect
    District Administration Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    Seven-year-old Chanse, a first grader in Kathleen Gerard's classroom at PS 116 in New York City, is in a "World of Goo." On an iPad, he's using his index finger to pull little black animated "goo balls" around the screen and to connect them in an attempt to build what will end up being a flimsy but balanced bridge made of oily glop. He's building across chasms and cliffs, avoiding windmills and spikes, trying to connect to a pipe that will suck up any goo that he didn't use to score him big points. More

    Can kids be taught persistence?
    MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    In his book "How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character," author Paul Tough makes the case that persistence and grit are the biggest indicators of student success. Being resilient against failure, he says, is the fundamental quality we should be teaching kids, and he gives examples of where that's being done. Dominic Randolph, the headmaster at the elite Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, New York, who believes students don't know how to fail, is one of the sources in Tough's book who has set out on a road to change an "impoverished view" of learning. Rather than producing students adept at "gaming" the system, "we have got to change the educational system to think about different outcomes and different capacities," he says. More
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