The Best of Our Knowledge # 884

While nations debate immigration issues, the business of educating
children from dozens of different countries continues. And the
importance of students learning at least two languages has never
been more apparent. Some 5-million children in U.S. public schools
are considered English learners. With nearly one-third of these
students living in California, that state has become ground zero for
bilingual education In our special series called The Language of
Learning, The California Report details this multi-faceted challenge.
In today's chapter, we learn that a growing number of California schools
are implementing dual language immersion programs. And their primary
goal is to teach children to be bilingual. Let's listen in as we discover how English learners at Sunset Elementary School in Fresno share a class with native English speakers, and by doing so, are becoming more fluent in one another's language.
Kathryn Baron reports from Fresno. (5:48)

Following up that story from California on language immersion, we found
another type of program being tried on the East coast of the United States. Classrooms in ten public schools in Springfield, Massachusetts are being
infused with the culture of Puerto Rico. It's an experiment to determine if bridging a cultural divide between teachers and students can improve
learning. And if it works, there are hopes of taking it nationwide.
Paul Tuthill reports from Massachusetts. (3:03)

The weather in Washington this time of year is hot, and so too is
the political hot potato being tossed around by Congress and the
administration. We're talking about efforts underway to renew the
No Child Left Behind Act. NCLB passed Congress with broad
bipartisan support and was signed into law in early 2002 as a five-year reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Representative George Miller is Chairman of the House Education
Committee. In recent remarks at the National Press Club, Miller said
both democrats and republicans on his committee are listening closely
to critiques of the law, and are working towards ironing out a bipartisan reauthorization bill. But Congressman Miller also said NCLB is not
working as well as it should, and that there's no support among lawmakers
for continuing the law without significant revisions. U.S. Secretary of
Education, Margaret Spellings, was quick to respond, thanking Chairman
Miller for his commitment to strengthening the law. Secretary Spellings remarked, with all due diplomacy, His leadership and bipartisanship
will be essential to making the improvements and modifications No
Child Left Behind Needs. TBOOK had an opportunity to discuss all
of this with Deputy Secretary of Education, Ray Simon.
Glenn Busby reports from New York. (7:07)