Monday, November 5, 2007

It's good to sit and chill

Sheesh. Last week hit me like a freight train, time to slow down. Need to ask myself some tough questions, because whether or not I like to admit it, there is a point where multi-tasking can morph into neurosis. If there isn't anything personally or professionally gratifying about what I've undertaken these past few days, it's also time to do some re-prioritizing.

What happened to Kathleen Leos?
That's the question that was on everyone's mind at the Office of English Language Acquisition's 6th Annual Summit. Something is amiss at the USDE and I intend to find out what's going on.

The clues to this Humpty-Dumpty-like Mystery:

1. Four days before the conference, and without any notification, Margarita Pinkos takes on the position of deputy secretary of OELA. Surprise! The entire room did a double take.
2. A suspicious email goes out to the states, claiming that Kathleen is ill, but staffers and Mrs. Pinkos quickly deny it at the first meeting with state representatives. They say she is "busy", but still very committed. However, she never shows up for her opening speech.
3. A demographer and keynote speaker gives an speech dedicated to Kathleen, and makes some pretty controversial statements in her address. The room is at one point, hushed as 1,100 ELL teachers and educators gasp in disbelief.
4. Several guests called to cancel last minute or were suddenly unable to make the event. Taxi strike, mistaken date, sick? Yeah right.
5. The lack of student involvement and fewer presenters was evident by all. It just seemed like it all fell apart and someone tried to put the pieces back during the 11th hour.
6. The OELA Leadership and staff traditionally sit with participants at random tables during lunch networking sessions. Mrs. Pinkos did not sit at her table on any of the conference days. Afraid to answer questions?

It all sounds very fishy. Kathleen Leos where are you? Political dysfunction is not unique to the CNMI, even though we like to think we have a monopoly on it. What has this to do with NCLB's reauthorization efforts and the mandate on ELLs? Has she been fired? Did she leave due to philosophical differences? I think we should know the answers.


Bruce A. Bateman said...

I like the slides, Boni.

You look a bit chilled alright.

Any time for sightseeing or are you in symposia all day?

Saipan Writer said...

This is interesting.

I want to know what the controversial statements were and what was said that made everybody talk so much they had to be shushed!

Boni said...

Hi Bruce! I'm back now:), all warm and toasty. No tours on this trip, just evening strolls and metro rides. We got in the afternoon before the first 7:30 am meeting and flew out the morning after the last meeting. Whew! Give me a few days to readjust, and then get my margarita ready baby, i'm coming to Porky's!

Jane: One of the most disturbing statements was an archaic sentiment that ELLs should be given language instruction during pull-out sessions. This is totally contradictory to what we know about language acquisition, that it needs to be consistent and what we've learned about the importance of teaching content knowledge during the entire school day. Limiting instruction outside of the mainstream only pushes our ELLs further away from acquiring academic English. We haven't done a good job of moving beyond social English skills, and into content specific skills.

kael said...

you can contact me Kathleen Leos at or 202-731-0391. I left due to a philosophical difference related to teaching, assessing and accountability to ELLs - we are still fighting for their academic civil rights- come join us. Kathleen