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Keeping Cornell Multilingual

Inside Higher Ed – Colleen Flaherty

“Cornell University is “planting a flag for foreign language and international relations.” That’s how Tom Pepinsky, associate professor of government and chair of College of Arts and Sciences’ curriculum committee, described its plan to maintain a stringent foreign language requirement: 11 credits, or typically three semesters’ worth of classes in one language for those who don’t already have some language proficiency. (Those who do have some proficiency may take one intermediate-level course instead.)” (more)

Will Every State Offer Special Recognition for Its Bilingual Graduates?

Education Week – Corey Mitchell

“Since the seal of biliteracy was introduced in California earlier this decade, its popularity has surged across the country, with nearly every state scrambling to offer special recognition for high school graduates who demonstrate fluency in two or more languages. Just six years later, students in 43 states and the District of Columbia can earn statewide or district-level recognition noting their skills in more than one language. Heading into the 2018-19 school year, just six mostly rural states with small populations of English-learnersmdash;Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming—have yet to be swept up in the movement.” (more)

California must continue to lead in closing the bilingual skills gap

Ed Source – David Bong

“High school seniors in nearly three dozen states walked across the graduation stage last month to receive a diploma with a unique distinction that signifies they are even better positioned for success: a Seal of Biliteracy. That’s because in today’s global economy and multicultural society, the skill of being bilingual is becoming increasingly valuable in the eyes of colleges and employers. In fact, a recent study from the New American Economy showed that demand for bilingual workers more than doubled between 2010 and 2015.” (more)

The Benefits of Narrow Reading Units

Language Magazine – Kate Kinsella

“I provide consultancy and professional development for districts across the nation that are striving to support English learners and under-resourced students in making viable academic language and literacy advances. I am observing with increasing concern as well-intended English language arts educators in grades 4-12 cobble together units of study in hopes of addressing the complex demands of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS, 2010) in time for the impending doom of the proverbial “cart before the horse” assessment debacle. Their legacy curriculum was not created to mentor English acolytes in systematic analysis of content-rich nonfiction, a range of rigorous text-reliant discussions using academic register, and argumentative writing drawing from multiple sources, all major emphases in the CCSS shifts.” (more)

Language skills, not just reading and math, are essential for American education

The Washington Examiner – Eric Dunne

“Education policy often focuses on reading and math; for American students to compete with their peers abroad, however, second language skills are essential. Although English is currently the lingua franca of trade, education, and diplomacy, in the globalized world of the 21st century, Americans with limited language skills are at a disadvantage and American education isn’t doing enough to fix that.” (more)

Zhuyin sounds key to children learning Mandarin as a second language

The South China Morning Post – Anita Shum

“Parents often say their children don’t read enough, especially when they are learning Mandarin as a second language. Youngsters often find such bookwork too difficult beyond their mother tongues and their reading-level gap can widen to the point that some children might hold a “Harry Potter-level” book in one hand, and a “one sentence per page” Chinese book on the other – and still be unable to read all its characters independently.” (more)