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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Opinion: Time to Fund Our Efforts to Teach English

What is the true cost of educating English-language learners? That's the ultimate question. It doesn't really matter that superintendents collectively say the true cost is $304 million and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne says it's $40.6 million. The Legislature has to fund an immersion program for more than 130,000 students beginning next school year.

Hmong Students Drawn to Minnesota's Hopkins School District

The word is out in north Minneapolis' Hmong community: the Hopkins School District is the place to go. Last fall, 39 Hmong students transferred to the district, making it the largest single migration of Hmong students under the state's Choice is Yours program, a voluntary desegregation program for Minneapolis students. This year, more than 40 students applied to join them. But Hopkins has admitted only 10 students so far. It's a change from last year, when almost every student who applied by the deadline was accepted, said Minneapolis neighborhood organizer Jay Clark.

Beyond Price, Other Barriers to College Loom

Only about a third of Chicago Public School students with aspirations to attain four-year degrees enroll in colleges matching their qualifications, with 62 percent of students attending colleges with selectivity levels "below the kinds of colleges they would have most likely been accepted to, given their level of qualifications," according to a new study from the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago.

Easing Language Barriers

Vilma Serpas moved from El Salvador to Maryland four years ago and still is learning English. So last week when she stopped by her son's school, she immediately sought out the school's bilingual family liaison, Monica Lopez. Ms. Serpas is one of a growing number of Spanish-speaking parents whose children are enrolled in the public schools. They are parents who would be lost without help from liaisons like Ms. Lopez. Like the county's 11 other bilingual liaisons, Ms. Lopez is their link to the tools they need to build a life here and to help their children excel in school.

Hispanic Demographics Will Impact Education in Florida

Florida is one of three Southern Regional Education Board states expected to see "explosive growth" of greater than 20 percent in the overall number of Hispanic high school graduates through 2022. According to a new report, a major increase in Hispanic students will significantly impact the SREB states as they work to raise high school and college graduation rates.

The University of Uncertainty

When Nelson Lopez applied to Virginia colleges this year, it never occurred to him that he might not be considered a state resident. After all, he has lived in the state since he was a baby, holds a voter registration card and will graduate this spring from an Alexandria high school. Then last month, he got an e-mail from the University of Virginia: If he wanted to be considered an in-state student, he had to prove that his parents are in this country legally. Lopez, 18, was born here — he's a U.S. citizen. But his parents are illegal immigrants. In the years since a huge wave of immigrants began pouring into the country, their U.S.-born children are graduating from high school and finding that citizenship may not be enough.

Officials: ESOL Enrollment Down in Northern Virginia's Prince William and Manassas Schools

School officials in three Northern Virginia area school districts have noticed a decline in enrollment of English for Speakers of Other Languages students since the beginning of the school year. Officials in Prince William county said it's too soon to know for certain what is causing the decline. But officials in Manassas and Manassas Park said economic factors such as changes in the housing and job markets appear to be driving ESOL students, many of whom are Hispanic, out of the area. The anti-illegal immigration resolution passed in Prince William County also appears to be driving some Hispanic families away, Manassas Park officials said.

Officials: ESOL Enrollment Up in Northern Virginia's Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax Schools

Three Northern Virginia school systems have noticed an unexpected influx of English-language learners coming from nearby Prince William County since the suburban jurisdiction launched its crackdown on illegal immigration. Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria public school officials have reported increased enrollment in their English to Speakers of Other Languages programs, while Prince William County announced an unprecedented drop of 630 students, or nearly 5 percent. Both illegal-immigration critics and immigrant advocates say the new policy directing officers to check the residency status of traffic violators and misdemeanor offenders has driven people from the community, but it remains unclear exactly where the hundreds of missing students went.

Commentary: A Teacher's Look at Proposed Cuts

In case you don't think teachers are worth the money Sacramento spends to educate our youth, read on about the students in my 7th-grade social studies class in Carlsbad. My contract is over at the end of the school year. As an outsider, I'm looking through a lens of objectivity while watching the state take a bite out of the education budget. During my career in education, I've learned some students are highly motivated and some are ready to quit. But teachers don't teach information, they teach kids … you could ask an English language learner I'll call Pablo, who missed weeks of school … But then something clicked after Career Day — hope had arrived! Pablo came bounding into the room announcing, "I'm going to be an engineer!"

Illinois School District Tests Spanish Voice-Mail Systems

New Spanish voice-mail systems will help dozens of Hispanic residents communicate with their children's school officials, an administrator from a Chicago-area school district said. The pilot program is being paid for by a $1,000 grant for English as a second language instruction and offers Spanish-speaking parents the option of leaving a voice message, after which a Spanish teacher or bilingual education teacher will return calls within two school days.