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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Making State Report Cards Work for English Learners

Each year, states publish "report cards" on student performance in K-12 education, as measured by math and reading tests, graduation rates, and other key indicators. For the public, this information provides a critical snapshot of school quality. Now, as states shift to the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, federal law requires these report cards to include more meaningful data on English learner students.

When Yoga Becomes a Respected Part of the School Day

Visit an elementary school in Kentucky's Jefferson County Public Schools and you may find students doing partner yoga poses. The activity, part of a massive study of a "whole-child" education program called the Compassionate Schools Project, has several purposes. When students do these partner poses, they practice mindfulness — paying attention to their own bodies — and they learn how to cooperate and problem-solve with a peer. It's a physical activity that asks students to practice balance and agility while also engaging them mentally and socially.

Hope, Determination and Courage: 7 Inspiring Stories from First-Generation Latino Graduates

Remezcla wanted to learn more about how first-generation Latino students – those who are the first in their families to graduate from college – navigate the uncharted waters that they encounter. The team interviewed seven undergraduate and graduate students, 6 women and one man between the ages of 21 and 30, to understand what it takes to succeed at institutions that are often not equipped to support first-gen students. While their circumstances widely varied from one another, the Remezcla team found that they all credited their families and the connections they made during college as key to their success. Here are their stories.

Proposed Tax for Graduate Students Killed, Student Loan Interest Deduction Saved in Congressional Bill

Senate and House Republican leaders have agreed to abandon many of the controversial proposals that higher-education leaders and students had rallied to thwart, according to congressional aides. Under the agreement, tuition waivers received by graduate students remain tax-free, students can still deduct loan interest payments and bonds that colleges use for construction stay interest-free.

The Quiet Tragedy of Forgetting Your First Language

Andi Sharma is a senior policy analyst for the government of Manitoba's Northern Healthy Foods Initiative. In this piece about losing heritage languages, she writes, "It's a very odd feeling, the moment you realize you've lost your connection to your heritage. That moment happened for me when I was 11."

Thousands of Miles From Home, Immigrant Finds Herself

Nury Castillo was just 10 years old when she first arrived in the United States. A petite, black-haired girl with big eyes, Castillo barely knew how to undo her own braids, let alone learn to speak English. Of that time in her life, Castillo vividly remembers the bedroom she shared with her parents and two sisters, in her aunt's home in Indiana. Castillo's parents emigrated from Peru in the 1970s, in search of a better life. Castillo's experience as an immigrant, including the challenges she faced and the assimilation process to living in the U.S., is all chronicled in her new book, '3,585 Miles to be an American Girl.'

Displaced From Hurricane Maria, Local Basketball Players Find Solace on the Court

Christopher Rodriguez was at a loss in the hours after Hurricane Maria tore through his small, Puerto Rican town of Carolina on Sept. 20. Like most, he didn't know what to do and had nowhere to go. Rodriguez came to Orange City with his mom and sister, Nicole. While the three are still adjusting to their new surroundings, Rodriguez has started to feel a bit more at home as of late. The Titans basketball team, and first-year head coach Robert Soler, have a lot to do with that.

Working Long Hours Adds Hurdle for Undocumented Students Who Dream of College

Ranferi Avilez is meeting friends for a late lunch. It’s unseasonably hot in Houston for mid-October, but instead of spending his Saturday as he normally does, pouring cold brews and squirting whipped cream on iced caramel macchiatos, the 18-year-old, who received his work permit via DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is doing something special for himself: He is taking a day off. Finances are a big reason so few of these young people go to college, but the steep and rising costs — exacerbated by the fact that most states require undocumented immigrants to pay out-of-state tuition at public universities, even if they have lived and paid taxes in the state for years — is just one of the obstacles these teens face. Many must also help support their families. They usually lack mentors to help them prepare for college, even when — as is often the case — they would be the first in their families to go.

OPINION: Is this tax plan a dream-crusher for higher ed's food service workers, maintenance staff and housekeepers?

Julie Wollman is the President of Widener University, and she writes, "Voices that are largely missing are those of the college and university employees who gain the most from the provision that allows their dependents to receive tax-free tuition remission. These are the people without whom our campuses could not operate. They are the campus safety officers, maintenance staff, housekeepers, food service workers and administrative assistants who would otherwise be unable to afford access to an education of the quality that is available to them through their workplaces. Taxing this tuition remission would raise taxable income so significantly that it would shut down access to countless young people who may lack wealth but who have no shortage of ambition or drive to succeed."