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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Congress Pushes Back Against DeVos Plan to Dissolve Federal English-Learner Office

Democratic members of Congress are pushing back against a proposal from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' that would scrap the federal office that guides education policy and practice for millions of English-language-learner and immigrant students. The lawmakers want DeVos to rethink a proposal that would consolidate her department's office English-language acquisition into the broader office for elementary and secondary education.

Immigrant Families Separated at Border Struggle to Find Each Other

Esteban Pastor hoped U.S. Border Patrol agents would free him and his 18-month-old son after they were arrested for crossing the southern border illegally last summer. He had mortgaged his land in Guatemala to fund his sick toddler's hospital stay, and needed to work in the United States to pay off the loan. Instead agents imprisoned the 28-year-old in July for coming back into the country after having been deported, a felony. They placed the toddler in a federal shelter, though where, Pastor didn't know. Three months later, in October, the father was deported — alone. His child, he said agents told him, was "somewhere in Texas."

Gov. Carney Creates Advisory Council on English Learners

Gov. John Carney (D) recently signed an executive order creating the Advisory Council on English Learners.  The group will track the state's progress on the English Learner Strategic Plan released by the Carney Administration in December.

Grant Provides Funding to Make Videos for Non-English Speaking Families

The Springfield-Greene County Library just received a grant to make videos in five different languages. The videos will help people understand the services available to them at their local library. Through these next few summer months, the Springfield-Greene County Library will be busy making the videos for families and they will be able to be watched anywhere at any time through the library's YouTube channel.

Immigrant Youth, Refugees Find Support at This Seattle School

Joshua Villanueva arrived in Seattle from the Philippines three years ago. He was 16, an age when most youth in the United States are fully immersed in high school. In Seattle, Joshua tried a summer program at a traditional school, but was uncomfortable with the environment. He admits that in the search for familiarity, he could have gotten involved with gangs here. But when Joshua was referred to Seattle World School, a secondary school that serves the growing population of newly-arrived immigrant and refugee youth in the city, his path took a dramatic turn.

The Syrian Boy Who Wrote His Life Story – With the Help of His Canadian Teacher

When Abu Bakr al-Rabeeah and his family arrived from Syria to the Canadian city of Edmonton, his to-do list was dauntingly long: English lessons, learning how to cope with the long, bitterly cold winters and how to best get around his strange new home. But the teenager had a secret dream, which he confided to a teacher. One day he would tell his story, challenging those who saw his family only as refugees, defined by the war they had survived. Eight months later, he became a published author. His book, Homes: A Refugee Story, is set to be officially released on Saturday 12 May by a Calgary book publisher, after being self-published last year.

At Puerto Rico Comic Con, Local Geeks Hope to Rejoice as the Island Recovers

Every year, tens of thousands of people descend on San Juan to attend Puerto Rico Comic Con, an annual comic book and pop culture convention. For the last 16 years, comic book artists, entrepreneurs and content creators from the island, the mainland US and other places in the Caribbean showcase and sell their work, while attendees meet their favorite artists and entertainers from the industry. Now, nearly eight months after Hurricane María made landfall across Puerto Rico, regular attendees of the event like George Camacho are excited to finally be able to enjoy and showcase their hobby.

Education Secretary Betsy Devos Under Fire for Saying Schools Can Report Undocumented Students

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos set off a furor over comments she made to members of Congress suggesting that schools should decide whether or not to report undocumented students and their families to federal immigration authorities. Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., immediately rebuked the secretary's statement, stressing that immigration policies are defined and executed by the federal government, not by communities.

New App Created by Latinos Offers Interpreter Services in Real Time

During his visits to several courts as a translator-for-hire, Victor Abundis grew increasingly frustrated at the amount of people who didn’t know they could be eligible for interpreter. "It'll state that in the package they get, but the package is always in English," he says. What usually happens next, he says, is that the lawyers and agents scramble in the waiting room to find any random person who can speak or interpret the language. Abundis thought that wasn't fair. "This is the most important appointment of their lives. And it literally hangs in the balance of some random person they found out of a waiting room." With Interpreter Tap, Abundis is hoping to change that. Interpreter Tap is an app that offers interpreter services in real time on your mobile device. The idea is that the app will connect you to an interpreter through a video call and interpret on the spot.

What's Going On in Your Child's Brain When You Read Them a Story?

"I want The Three Bears!" These days parents, caregivers and teachers have lots of options when it comes to fulfilling that request. You can read a picture book, put on a cartoon, play an audiobook, or even ask Alexa. A newly published study gives some insight into what may be happening inside young children's brains in each of those situations. And, says lead author Dr. John Hutton, there is an apparent "Goldilocks effect" — some kinds of storytelling may be "too cold" for children, while others are "too hot." And, of course, some are "just right."

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