ELL News Headlines

Throughout the week, Colorín Colorado gathers news headlines related to English language learners from around the country. The ELL Headlines are posted Monday through Friday and are available for free!

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Iowa School District Vows to Break Law to Tap Reserve Funds

Fed up with years of political battling over the fairness of Iowa's education funding formula, Arthur Tate, the superintendent of the Davenport public schools, says in order to balance his books next year, he will illegally pull $2.7 million out of the district's reserves. It's an amount he bases on the state's 1971 funding formula, which leaves Davenport $175 less to spend per student compared to some other districts. "I'm tired of the inequality," said Tate, the head of a district whose 15,500 students are mostly low-income, Hispanic, and black. "I think there's a higher philosophy and principle at stake here. Every student should be worth the same, and the state is saying ours are worth much less."

Detroit Schools Back in Session After Promise Teachers Will Be Paid

Detroit Public Schools reopened Wednesday, welcoming tens of thousands of students back to their classrooms after two days of widespread closures due to teacher sickouts over pay.  At a membership meeting of the Detroit Federation of Teachers late Tuesday, union leaders urged teachers to return to work. They said that Steven Rhodes, the school system's state-appointed emergency manager, had assured them in writing that teachers would be fully paid for their work.

Seattle School District Is Reviewing Its Language Immersion Programs

Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish: These are the languages hundreds of students are learning in the Seattle School District.  But funding is tight, which means the district is taking a hard look at its foreign language immersion programs. The district is wondering if these programs should be scaled back, expanded, or left as they are.

Teacher Protest Shuts Almost All Detroit Public Schools

An organized teacher "sickout" forced nearly all of Detroit’s public schools to stay closed on Monday and Tuesday after the system's chief manager said that without more money from the state, he would be unable to pay teachers the salaries they are owed in July and August and summer school would be canceled.

Seattleites Helping Syrian Refugees Here and Overseas

Su Olsen did not know where she was going, though she was leaving in a week. It would be somewhere in Greece, she knew that much. The 70-year-old jewelry maker from Bainbridge Island had been so moved upon reading about the refugees flooding there from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East that she decided she had to help, in person.

Indianapolis Public Schools Approves Newcomer School, Two Innovation Schools

Indianapolis Public Schools is opening a new school for new students. Just a week after the IPS board heard a proposal to create a school for students who are new to the country, the plan won approval tonight. This district will open the new school this fall, targeting the curriculum and programs to better serve immigrant students. In addition to offering specialized instruction for kids learning English, IPS hopes the school will serve as a hub for services for immigrant families as they navigate life in a new country.

With More Dual Language Schools, New Crop of Leaders Needed

Over the last few years, the number of schools that offer dual language programs has grown dramatically. In the Houston Independent School District alone, it's climbed from 14 campuses in 2013 to 58 programs in 2016. Now there's a new effort to train leaders for those schools in higher education, recognizing it takes a special skill set to manage that kind of learning environment. This spring the University of St. Thomas launched a new master's program to combine bilingual education and leadership.

Pat Mora on Día, the Arbuthnot Lecture, and Diverse Books: 20 Years and Counting

Children who are members of the "Community of Readers" have access to "privilege, pleasure, and power," says Pat Mora, award-winning author and longtime literacy advocate. For more than 20 years she has focused on expanding this community to ensure that literacy is accessible to all young people. Her April 15 Arbuthnot Lecture at the Santa Barbara City College's Garvin Theatre, called "Bookjoy! ¡Alegría en los libros!", coincided with the 20th anniversary of the celebration she founded,"“El día de los niños/ El día de los libros" (Children's Day/Book Day), commonly known as "Día."

High School Librarian Raises $10K for Flint Schools

Lena Darnay is the full-time librarian and career academy coordinator at Pike High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, whose population is predominantly African American and Hispanic with a high percentage at or below the poverty line. In this essay, she describes a campaign organized by the school library to raise money for kids in Flint, Michigan, which engaged teachers, students, clubs, community organizations, and eventually other schools in the district – raising more than $10,000 to assist with the needs associated with childhood long-term lead exposure.