I’ve posted already about a good PBS interview with Diane Ravitch on the new Obama Administration’s Blueprint for re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). In that same post, I shared the National PTA’s critique of its minimal focus on parent engagement.
Thanks to Teacher Ken, I’ve just learned about a very thorough analysis of the Blueprint written by Richard Rothstein titled A blueprint that needs more work. If you were going to read one analysis of the proposal, this would be the one I’d recommend.
Mary Ann Zehr at Learning the Language is interested in hearing comments related to the proposal’s sections on English Language Learners.
Here is the comment I left in response:
I don’t pretend to much of a education policy wonk, so I don’t feel like I can make a whole lot of comments. I do see that the Blueprint requires each state to “Implement a system to evaluate the effectiveness of language instruction educational programs.”
That sounds reasonable. However, my experience with our state (California) trying to do that a few years back raises big questions in my mind.
The legislature approved funds to identify successful ELL programs, which it then wanted to promote throughout the state. However, in order to be considered a successful ELL program, it had to be located in a school that wasn’t in Program Improvement.
That requirement obviously dramatically limited the number of ELL programs the state would consider successful — generally to more suburban ones with very small numbers of ELL’s. Our school, for example, was in PI at the time (as you know we later exited it, but now we’re back in), so even though few, if any, other schools in the state have an ELL program that is as successful as ours, we weren’t even considered.
So, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
I’d be interested in hearing other people’s perspective on what the Blueprint says about ELL’s, too….
You can read the Blueprint in its entirety here.