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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A County in Idaho Offered Spanish-Language Ballots for the First Time and Here's What Happened

On the morning of Election Day, the top trending search on Google was "donde votar," which means "where to vote" in Spanish. Voter access to the polls was a major issue during the 2018 midterm elections in the U.S. Charges of voter suppression were made in in Georgia and North Dakota. Critics of new voting rules claimed they disenfranchised African-Americans and Native Americans.  While those problems were extensively covered by the press, less attention was paid to another problem that can affect voter turnout: the availability of foreign-language ballots.

Alaska Native Students Pursue STEM, With Great Success

Sam Larson was looking for loopholes. Crouched on the floor of a sunny student building at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, Sam was surrounded by cardboard, scissors, rulers and about a dozen other high school students. All of them were attending a residential summer "Acceleration Academy" hosted at the university by the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, or ANSEP. ANSEP now serves 2,500 students, from middle school through graduate school. As a group, outperform most of the rest of the country on measures of math and science. Two of the program's graduates are likely first Alaska Natives in the world to hold doctorate's in their fields. Another ANSEP grad has begun doctoral work in Colorado and a fourth has been accepted to a doctoral program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Providence: Teachers OK New Contract Which Includes Incentives for ESL Credentials

Providence teachers overwhelmingly voted to sign a three-year contract with the city following months of acrimony and protests by union members. The new language includes salary increases and  preserves some of the things important to teachers, such as 15 sick days and a continuation of their health care benefits. The agreement also enables teachers to earn incentives for getting credentials in English as a Second Language and advanced degrees.

Dual-Language Education Conference Brings Thousands of Educators to Santa Fe

Shelves of colorfully illustrated Spanish-language books and card games, multilingual e-books, comic books and CDs lined the halls of the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, where 3,000 people gathered last week to exchange ideas on how to improve dual-language education. La Cosecha, Dual Language Education of New Mexico’s 23rd annual conference, drew teachers, presenters and vendors from 41 states, nine Native American tribes and nine foreign nations.

Learning How to Speak with My Ancestors

The Gulf of Alaska surrounds my home, Kodiak Island. The sea has fed and clothed my community both literally and figuratively for millennia. The Alutiiq word for sea or ocean is imaq; it also means "a liquid contained inside" and "contents." While learning to speak our language as an adult, I first became aware of the Alutiiq worldview through this root word, which resurfaces in many ways. It is part of imartuq (it is full) and imaituq (it is empty), but also imasuugtua (I have a sinking feeling). When you say "I am sad" in Alutiiq, the literal translation is "I am searching for my contents."

The Language You Speak Changes the Colors You See

There wasn't an English word for the color 'orange' until 200 years after the citrus fruit of the same name arrived in Europe. Before then, the color was called by the two other colors that, when mixed, make orange: 'yellow-red' This is just one striking example of the ways in which color categories are shaped by culture. Ancient languages, including Greek, Chinese, Hebrew, and Japanese, didn't have a word for blue. And Russian speakers have two distinct category words for light blue vs dark blue: Something is never 'blue,' in Russian, it’s either 'siniy' (dark blue) or 'goluboy' (light blue.)

A Toy Monkey That Escaped Nazi Germany and Reunited a Family

The monkey's fur is worn away. It's nearly a century old. A well-loved toy, it is barely 4 inches tall. It was packed away for long voyages, on an escape from Nazi Germany, to Sweden and America. And now, it's the key to a discovery that transformed my family.

Book Review: Stories for Kids About Heroic Young Refugees

New York Times book reviewer Elizabeth Wein writes, "Last year, during a visit to a school in Birmingham, England, I met a seventh grader who told me he had traveled there from Syria as a refugee. I wasn't equal to imagining what that journey was like. Yet here was this rosy-cheeked boy in a British school uniform, clearly a survivor, sitting in on my author event along with 150 other interested students. I tried to respond. 'You must be …' Brave? Resourceful? Determined? I struggled for an appropriate word. The boy filled in the gap himself. 'Unstoppable!' he pronounced triumphantly. And 'unstoppable' is the word that best fits the fictional children in three timely, poignant and sometimes tragic new novels describing the current global refugee crisis."

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