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The Benefits of Teaching in Two Languages

The Atlantic – Valeria Pelet

“From New York to Utah, U.S. schools have seen a steady rise in bilingual education. Dual-language immersion programs first appeared in the U.S. in the 1960s to serve Spanish-speaking students in Florida. Since then, the demand—and controversy—surrounding these programs has been widespread, and they now address the needs of more than 5 million students who are English-language learners in the country’s public-school system. Teresa Chávez has been a teacher for almost 20 years, and is currently the lead teacher for Little Canada Elementary’s Dual Language Immersion program in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I spoke to Chávez about the implementation of the Spanish-language program and how bilingual education facilitates connections beyond the confines of a classroom. A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.”(more)

Boys who live with books ‘earn more as adults’

The Guardian – Jamie Doward

“New research has uncovered a strong correlation between the earnings of adults and whether they grew up surrounded by books as children. Three economists at the University of Padua – Giorgio Brunello, Guglielmo Weber and Christoph Weiss – studied 6,000 men born in nine European countries and concluded that children with access to books could expect to earn materially more than those who grow up with few or no books. They studied the period from 1920 to 1956, when school reforms saw the minimum school leaving age raised across Europe. They looked at whether, at the age of 10, a child lived in a house with fewer than 10 books, a shelf of books, a bookcase with up to 100 books, two bookcases, or more than two bookcases.”(more)

Can the UK and US Close Their Language Gap?

Care2 – Lizabeth Paulat

“New findings by the University of Cambridge show that unless the UK adopts a more comprehensive language program, it will fall behind the global economy, losing jobs to international competition. The paper, titled The Value of Languages, says that the knowledge gap may already be costing the UK, “billions of pounds per year.” According to Professor Wendy Ayres-Bennett, who helped co-author the paper, “English is necessary, but not sufficient.” She goes on to say that, “A UK strategy for languages would mean that UK businesses can participate fully in the global marketplace…It would also mean that the UK is able to maximise its role and authority in foreign policy through language and diplomacy.” Although language courses are now compulsory in Britain’s primary schools, challenges such as quality of the language course and continuity once students have left primary school are still issues.”(more)

A Much-Needed Pre-K Primer

The U.S. News and World Report – Katharine Stevens

“At first glance, the new poll results Gallup released last week on early childhood and higher education seem pretty straightforward. Reported with the headline “Americans Buy Free Pre-K; Split on Tuition-Free College,” the poll found that 59 percent of Americans now support free early childhood programs while less than half (47 percent) support free college tuition. But a closer look behind Gallup’s “Free Pre-K” headline reveals something peculiar: The poll didn’t ask about pre-K. It asked about “child care and pre-kindergarten programs,” encompassing a range of programs for children from birth to age 5. So in fact, Gallup has no idea if 59 percent of Americans support public pre-K, because their poll didn’t ask that question.”(more)

H-E-B schools to boost interest in STEM programs next fall

The Dallas Star-Telegram – Teri Webster

“When students return to the Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district this fall, a new initiative will help them prepare for well-paying careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In kindergarten through 12th grade, the district plans to boost interest in STEM and guide students toward a career or entrance into college. “The idea is to create student interest and grow potential skills,” said Kiera Elledge, H-E-B’s coordinator of STEM and school libraries. “By third or fourth grade, students have made up their mind about whether they’re good in math or science, so we need to catch them in those grades, and give them a chance to try.” By the time students reach junior high, they’re more focused on where they want to go, said Elledge.”(more)

Proposed ESSA Regulations Limit States on Accountability

Education Next – Michael J. Petrilli

“As everyone knows, the Department of Education released its latest package of proposed regulations today. Among other issues, this round addresses the heart of the Every Student Succeeds Act: its accountability provisions. The law, as you may recall, represented a major departure from No Child Left Behind, sending significant authority back to the states. It didn’t give them carte blanche, but Congress certainly intended them to have lots more sway over key education policy issues, including the design of their school rating systems.”(more)