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Latest Headlines

Policy News

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These headlines focus on policy issues that affect English language learners around the country, from the local to federal level. Many of the stories focus on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. For additional ELL news, take a look at our ELL news section!

Note: These links may expire after a week or so, and some websites require you to register first before seeing an article. Colorín Colorado does not necessarily endorse these views or any others on these outside web sites.

Life-Saving Swimming Class Gives Low-Cost Instruction

The Advocate (CA)

May 22, 2015

The Summer Aquatic Program at Contra Costa College is underway and the Athletic Department has been flooded with parents requesting spots to ensure they and their children learn one of life's most valuable lessons — swimming. In an area as diverse as the East Bay and San Pablo in particular, it is important that local residents have a low cost opportunity to learn something from a skillful instructor that might one day save their life.

Hispanic Outreach Program Continues to Grow In Springfield


April 29, 2015

Lourdes Narvaez Soto and Krystal Rosa stay busy at Springfield's Hispanic Outreach Program. They're tucked away in the program's cubby hole classroom at the district's administrative building — it's overstuffed with posters and pictures of scenes from Latin American countries. Soto says the set-up serves as a welcome mat to parents and students who are looking for something familiar.

In Defining What Public School Students Should Know, Teachers Wonder 'How?'

PBS NewsHour

August 14, 2013

In the past, public school standards varied state to state. With backing from the federal government, some governors and superintendents collaborated on a national "Common Core." But they define only the "what" — what kids should know, not how they should be taught. Special education correspondent John Merrow reports.

ELL Assessment Groups Move Ahead on Standards, New Tests

Education Week, Learning the Language

June 21, 2013

Thanks to the Washington-based Alliance for Education, some of the top experts working on ELP standards and tests appeared in a webinar to explain the work they are doing and how it will connect to teachers and students in the classroom. Read a short list of highlights from the webinar.

WIDA Forges Ahead With New English-Language Proficiency Test

Education Week, Learning the Language

March 20, 2013

The 31 states that have banded together to create a new, computer-based assessment system for English-language learners are getting their first glimpses at the new English-language proficiency exam being developed to measure the language demands of the Common Core State Standards.

Latino Advocacy Group Offers Blueprint for Financial Aid Policy

Diverse Magazine

March 20, 2013

With the Higher Education Act (HEA) up for renewal this year, a leading Hispanic education organization is seeking to shake up current thinking about federal policy with a collection of new ideas that would re-imagine student financial aid for college.

In a new report, Excelencia in Education proposes to allow students to change the financial aid formula for work-study, allow students to use financial aid for remedial courses and require that students file financial aid forms at the same time they apply to college.

In Remote Alaskan Villages, Teachers Struggle to Make School Meaningful

Hechinger Report

March 04, 2013

Wagner Iworrigan, a 17-year-old high school senior on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska, knows a lot about biology, meteorology, and math. He's an expert at telling whether a walrus is too sick to eat, if the weather is likely to turn dangerous, and the best angle for throwing a harpoon at a surfacing bowhead whale. Many students like Wagner on St. Lawrence — a remnant of the land bridge that spanned the Bering Strait thousands of years ago with a current population of less than 1,400 — say they want to go to college. But half of them drop out of high school, and only 2 percent graduate from college.

Spanish Translation of Common Core Standards Makes Debut

Education Week

February 25, 2013

California educators working on translating the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts into Spanish have finished much of their work and are making the translations available to their colleagues around the country. The Common Core en Español Project was led by the San Diego County Office of Education and done with support from the California Department of Education and the Council of the Chief State School Officers.

Commentary: Caution Urged on Common Core — From a Supporter

The Washington Post

January 29, 2013

Even as schools across the country change curriculum and assessments to align with the new Common Core State Standards, there are plenty of people — including Common Core supporters — who think implementation is being rushed. Here is an open letter on this subject to the Illinois State Board of Education from Paul Horton, a history teacher at the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (where President Obama's daughters attended before moving to Washington D.C.), and state liaison to the Illinois Council for History Education.

Response: Best Ways to Prepare Our Students for CCSS in Language Arts

Education Week

January 23, 2013

In this post for Education Week, Larry Ferlazzo has solicited responses from educators to the question, "How can we best prepare our students for the common core in language arts?" This is the first in a two-part series.

New Reading Standards Aim To Prep Kids For College — But At What Cost?


January 23, 2013

One of the most notable shifts in the Common Core Standards Initiative is the extent to which it integrates nonfiction text into the English program. So where does it leave The Catcher in the Rye and similar literary classics? That question is one stirring debate over how to integrate nonfiction works into English programs to improve reading scores, while not abandoning the novels that have become the gold standard of high school reading lists.

Maryland Dream Act Projected to Pass

ABC News

November 07, 2012

For the first time by popular vote, a state will allow qualifying undocumented immigrant students to access in-state tuition rates and state financial aid. The Maryland Dream Act will help anywhere from hundreds to thousands of students access higher education in the state over the next several years. With the projected passage of the initiative, Maryland joins 13 other states that offer some form of tuition equity for undocumented students.

Report: Scrap One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Teaching ELLs

Education Week, Learning the Language

November 05, 2012

As more and more school districts around the country put the common standards in English/language arts and mathematics into practice, one refrain is growing louder and louder: Instruction for English-learners must change radically. So argues a new policy brief released this week from the Washington-based Alliance for Excellent Education.

Does U.S. School Reform Need to Be Reformed?

PBS NewsHour

October 30, 2012

The Obama Administration's effort to turn around failing schools under the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program is in need of drastic reform, says a new report by the National Education Policy Center. The report argues that the SIG program forces schools to "run like corporations" by emphasizing student test scores to demonstrate improvement.

Immigration Agents Target Families Outside Detroit Schools

Hispanically Speaking News

October 29, 2012

Recently, two immigrant families were approached by agents as they dropped off their children at Cesar Chavez Academy in Southwest Detroit. A family outside the Manuel Reyes Vistas Nuevas Head Start Center was similarly stopped. Outside Chavez Academy, Hector Orozco was arrested as he dropped his son off and remains in ICE custody.

Thousands of Young Immigrants Seek Deportation Reprieve

Education Week

September 18, 2012

It has been a month since the Obama administration's new policy allowing young undocumented immigrants to apply for deferred action-which grants temporary relief from deportation and the possibility of a work permit-kicked in. And while demand has been strong, it's not been as robust as immigration officials had predicted.

First Lady: Critical to Keep Immigrant Families Together


July 18, 2012

First lady Michelle Obama defended her husband's immigration policies in an interview on Spanish-language television network Univision, saying that there was nothing more important than keeping families from being torn apart by deportations. "There is nothing more critical than keeping families together and that is why Barack has been fighting so hard for comprehensive immigration reform. For the sheer fact that we cannot continue to let families be broken apart," Obama said on "Aquí y Ahora" ("Here and Now").

Study of Dual-Language Immersion Launches in Portland Schools

Education Week

July 16, 2012

RAND Corporation researchers have kicked off a three-year research project — backed with a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education — to examine the effects of dual-language programs on student achievement in English/language arts, math, and science in the public schools in Portland.

ELL Accommodations Study Gets Top Rating from Federal Reviewers

Education Week

July 05, 2012

A 2010 study that concluded that simplifying language on standardized-test items in math made it easier for English-language learners to demonstrate their understanding of math concepts has earned the highest stamp of approval from the federal What Works Clearinghouse.

NAEP Scores Still Stalled for Native American Students

Education Week

July 03, 2012

In a year of growth for many student groups on national tests, students of American Indian and Alaskan native descent are in an academic rut, according to a new study of the National Assessment of Education Progress. But the study also identifies progress for those students in Oklahoma and a few other states that researchers say may point to ways states can better support students of Native Alaskan or American Indian heritage.

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This section was made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author/organization cited.