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Katherine Johnson, 'hidden figure' at NASA during 1960s space race, dies at 101

When Katherine Johnson began working at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1953, she was classified as "subprofessional," not far outranking a secretary or janitor. Hers was a labor not of scheduling or cleaning but rather of mathematics: using a slide rule or mechanical calculator in complex calculations to check the work of her superiors — engineers who, unlike her, were white and male. Her title, poached by the technology that would soon make the services of many of her colleagues obsolete, was "computer." Mrs. Johnson, who died Feb. 24 at 101, went on to develop equations that helped the NACA and its successor, NASA, send astronauts into orbit and, later, to the moon. In 26 signed reports for the space agency, and in many more papers that bore others' signatures on her work, she codified mathematical principles that remain at the core of human space travel.

SYLLABLE Act Promotes Access to Dual Language Immersion Programs

On February 5th, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva introduced the Supporting Young Language Learners’ Access to Bilingual Education (SYLLABLE) Act in the House of Representatives. The bill helps establish high-quality dual-language immersion programs in communities with high numbers of low-income families and supports those programs from pre-K to 5th grade. “Today, bilingualism is an asset in our multicultural society and provides our students with more job opportunities in the economy of the future,” said Rep. Grijalva. “The SYLLABLE Act recognizes that importance, supports dual language programs in low-income communities, and ensures that every child has access to new educational opportunities that prepare them for a successful future.” Studies show both native English speakers and English Learners in dual-language immersion programs benefit from bilingual education and experience substantial gains in language, literacy, and math. While these programs remain in high-demand across the country, they tend to cluster in affluent communities that provide limited access to low-income students.

Identifying Gifted and Talented English-Learners: Six Steps for District Leaders

English-language learners are severely underrepresented in gifted and talented education programs in the nation's K-12 schools — and the problem may be rooted in the procedures and policies that schools use to identify gifted students. A new guide from Education Northwest offers a series of recommendations, focused on rooting out educator and assessment bias, that could allow more English-learners access to gifted and talented education.

The Invisible Burden Some Bilingual Teachers Face

Finding bilingual educators has been a long-standing problem for school districts across the country. Now, a study out of Georgia State University explores why finding those teachers may be only half the problem. The "invisible work" of translating and creating curriculum materials in languages other than English that falls on the shoulder of dual-language bilingual educators "too often goes unrecognized and is never remunerated." That responsibility could lead to teachers leaving the profession, concludes Cathy Amanti, a clinical assistant professor at Georgia State.

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