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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Seeking a Voice, via a Bilingual M.F.A., in Writing and in Life

When the discussion warms up in Andrea Cote-Botero’s graduate seminar, English and Spanish flow freely, just as they do amid the afternoon foot traffic across the nearby Ciudad Juárez border. In the country’s only bilingual M.F.A. creative writing program, at the University of Texas at El Paso, students on this day are comparing how F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gabriel García Márquez depict West Egg and Macondo, the respective settings of their classic novels.

Teachers spend nearly $1,000 a year on supplies. Under the GOP tax bill, they will no longer get a tax deduction.

It's well known that teachers — even those who earn meager salaries — dig deep into their own pockets for supplies to do their jobs, with one study estimating they spend an average of nearly $1,000 a year on everything from pencils to batteries. For now, teachers can get a small tax break — deducting up to $250 from their taxes — for what they spend on supplies. But under the GOP tax reform bill, that deduction would go away for teachers and other categories of workers, including certain state and local officials and performing artists.

Republican tax plan seeks to shake up higher-education tax credits, deductions and benefits

Tucked away in the much-anticipated Republican tax bill are a few provisions that are sure to rattle universities, student loan borrowers and anyone paying for college. The legislation unveiled Thursday by House Republican leaders taps into some  proposals that have created division within the higher-education sector, including whether well-heeled schools are paying their fair share. It also delivers on some long-standing promises to simplify and streamline the credits and deductions provided to families and students, but in ways that may leave some Americans frustrated.

GOP Tax Bill Would Boost School Choice, May Squeeze K-12 Revenue

The Republicans' much-anticipated legislation to change the federal tax system includes a victory for school choice advocates: It would allow families to use up to $10,000 in savings from 529 college savings plans for K-12 expenses, including private school tuition. Overall, the bill released Thursday would slash corporate and some individual tax rates, offsetting the cost by nixing other deductions. That includes a $250 deduction that teachers can use to cover classroom expenses, such as books, art supplies, and rewards for students. The bill would also eliminate the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes, a step advocates warn could pinch K-12 spending at the district and state level.

Former Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera Receives UCLA Medal

In a speech at Royce Hall that highlighted UCLA's second annual Humanities Forum on Diversity, Race and Immigration, Juan Felipe Herrera reminisced about how the campus helped shape his worldview as an artist during the civil rights era and offered meditations on diversity. The former U.S. poet laureate returned to his alma mater Oct. 30 to accept the UCLA Medal, the campus's highest honor. (You can learn more about Mr. Herrera's time at UCLA in our video interview with him.)

Unit 5 Teachers Call For Welcoming Environment For Immigrant Families

Teachers from Unit 5's high schools are asking the school board to declare the district a welcoming environment for immigrant students and teachers. Normal West teacher John Bierbaum, Normal Community teacher Patrick Lawler and NCHS freshman Aditi Sharma spoke to the school board recently about passing a measure to declare Unit 5 schools safe learning environments for students regardless of their immigration status.

From Russia with love: 4th graders help each other out — in Spanish and Russian

Last year, America Hernandez didn't have a lot to say in English. Then along came  Vladislava Milova. "She helps me with English and I help her with her Spanish," said America. The two fourth graders were sitting in the sunlit patio at Wilson Elementary talking about their friendship. Although America speaks Spanish at her home and Vladislava, or "Vlada," speaks Russian and English with her parents, Simon and Olesia, they've managed to develop a tight friendship since last year.

Affton School District Has All-Time High ELL Student Enrollment

They are called English Language Learners (ELL) and in the last five years, the Affton School District has seen an 80 percent increase in students for whom English is not their primary language. Affton superintendent Steven Brotherton says the ELL students are moving into the district from the city of St. Louis, after they came to the region from foreign countries. The most recent trend he says, is students moving into the area with Vietnamese and Arabic backgrounds.

A girl with cerebral palsy is being held in immigration detention. The ACLU just sued for her release.

Lawyers for an undocumented 10-year-old girl who was detained in Texas after undergoing surgery demanded her immediate release on Tuesday in a lawsuit filed against the Trump administration in federal court. Rosa Maria Hernandez, who has cerebral palsy, has been held at a federally funded shelter in San Antonio since leaving a Corpus Christi hospital last week after gallbladder surgery.