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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Parents Head Back to School

As administrators try to get parents more engaged in their child's education, parent-education programs are flourishing, with most offering instruction in instilling discipline, creating a home life conducive to studying and other basic skills. Some are designed to help demystify the public school system and offer tips in preparing a child for college. Others offer hands-on activities where parents make reading and math games and other study aids to take home.

Nashville Not Sure About English Only's Impact

Voters unsure of how they will vote on the English Only referendum at the Jan. 22 special election might be interested to find out that the departments across the city don't know how the charter amendment proposal would tangibly change the way they do business. From Metro Water to Public Works to Metro Nashville Public Schools, department after department has told <em>The City Paper</em> that the English Only proposal is too vaguely worded to predict its effect.

Boy Scouts of America Plans Campaigns to Lure Hispanics

As it prepares to turn 100, the Boy Scouts of America is facing a huge test: drawing Hispanics into its declining, mostly white ranks. The group remains the largest youth organization in the United States, with 2.8 million children, nearly all of them boys. But that is about half of its peak membership, which was reached in 1972. In order to boost enrollment, the organization has hired a media and marketing company that focuses on Latinos and has also assembled a committee of Hispanic leaders.

Justice Dept. Looks at ELL Program

The federal Department of Justice and Massachusetts' Worcester School Department are finalizing a settlement agreement to ensure English language learners have full access to education. The agreement aims to help improve ELL identification; translation and interpreting services; parent communication; professional development; access to native language materials; and data analysis.

Obama's Education Wish List May Have To Wait

Early on in his campaign, Barack Obama's education agenda included a long wish list of proposals for early childhood education, dropout prevention and after-school and college outreach programs among others. Obama called it his "Children First" agenda. With the economy on life support and just about every state now slashing education funding, President-elect Obama is likely to focus less on his wish list and more on the political consensus he says he wants to build around education.

Charter School Offers Promise for Latino Students

In her four years at Kansas City's Alta Vista Charter School, Yesenia Aguirre is ready to become the first in her family to go to college. Like many of her Latino peers, Aguirre and her family face social, cultural, and language barriers. Nevertheless, the staff members at Alta Vista believe that with the right tools and support, their students can not only graduate from high school but also succeed in college.

Three Kings Day Celebration Approaches

In many Latino households, especially those with small children, Three Kings Day is celebrated with even more fervor than Christmas. Three Kings Day, also known as the Epiphany and El Dia de los Reyes, is celebrated on Jan. 6, 12 days after Christmas. Recently, the <em>Connecticut Post</em> had an opportunity to talk about Three Kings Day with the Rev. Jose A. Diaz-Martinez, pastor of the St. Luke and St. Paul Episcopal Church in Bridgeport, CT.

School Groups Hope K-12 Gets Share of Stimulus

As President-elect Barack Obama and Congress begin laying the groundwork for a massive economic stimulus package, education groups are hoping for a major infusion of cash — beyond just construction projects — to help put financially struggling school districts on firmer fiscal footing.

ESOL Advocates Fighting Loss of Teacher Training

Clara E. Martinez, a middle-school teacher in Miami, has spent 600 hours in training outside the classroom to be able to teach reading to students whose native language is not English. But now the state is considering reducing the required amount of training for teachers helping these students learn to read, although Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a bill that would do just that in 2007 and lawmakers failed to pass a similar bill in 2008. This time, instead of lawmakers, it's the state Department of Education that is trying to change the rules.

Spelling Bee Makes ESL Students Feel at Home

It's the double consonants that give Mathuradevi Mahendrajah the most trouble. Words like "addition." It's the language itself that bugs Mohammed Yasin Pouya. He finally put in words why. "English is a crazy language. There are a lot of exceptions, too many exceptions because of all the other languages that are coming into English with their words." So Pouya, a mining engineer from Afghanistan, stayed on the sidelines, cheering and whistling, as Mahendrajah and three others in Maria Jones' language class captured top honours in Toronto's city-wide ESL spelling competition last month.