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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Race in America: The Legacy of Juneteenth with Lonnie G. Bunch III

Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie G. Bunch III is the founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Bunch joins Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart for a one-on-one conversation on the legacy of Juneteenth, the commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S. They discuss race, recent protests against police brutality, and his role as the first-ever African American Secretary of the Smithsonian.

Trump Can’t Immediately End DACA, Supreme Court Rules

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration may not immediately proceed with its plan to end a program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court’s four more liberal members in upholding the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The DACA program was announced by President Barack Obama in 2012. It allows young people brought to the United States as children to apply for a temporary status that shields them from deportation and allows them to work. The status lasts for two years and is renewable, but it does not provide a path to citizenship. The court’s ruling means the Trump administration officials will have to provide a lower court with a more robust justification for ending the program.

How Will Schools Measure English-Learners' 'COVID-Slide' Learning Loss?

The so-called coronavirus- or "COVID slide" may be especially troublesome for English-language learners, the 5 million students still learning English in the nation's K-12 schools. Many of them could fall farther behind because of a confluence of factors, including limited access to the internet and the language support services they often receive in school. Along with their native English-speaking peers, English-learners likely will face a battery of tests when school resumes to gauge what they've learned and lost during the extended school closures—but those assessments may not fully reflect what they know and can do in academic subjects, especially if they cannot demonstrate their knowledge in English. A new policy brief from the Migration Policy Institute explores the policy and practical questions for states considering implementing native-language assessments, tests that may be better suited to gauge what students know and what subjects they need support in apart from their English-language instruction.

Pandemic High: How one of Chicago’s largest schools rebuilt itself for cyberspace

For Curie Metropolitan High School, in the predominantly Latino immigrant neighborhood of Archer Heights on Chicago’s Southwest Side, a lot rides on a bid to reel in its scattered students. Chicago, like school districts around the country, pushed hard to get computers to students who needed them. But Principal Allison Tingwall and her staff of 280 quickly realized that this spring’s steeper challenge was to sustain the vital bonds between teachers and students — relationships tested in a city hard hit by the pandemic, with the racial and income fault lines it exposed. Especially in economically stressed communities, it is often these personal relationships that propel learning, leading students not only to log on, but to stay fully plugged in. If Curie failed to sustain these ties, some of its students — 90% of whom live in poverty — might never come back. Tingwall worries about losing kids to the impersonal void of cyberspace. But she takes pride in knowing 1,800 of them by name, and she is undaunted

Educators look for ways to help students disengaged from distance learning

Nearly a third of Principal Tayarisha Batchelor's students at Rawson Elementary School in Hartford, Connecticut, have been unplugged from distance learning. On a Friday afternoon, as she visited some of their homes, she saw many of the reasons why: Internet service is unreliable. Parents are away at work. Some are uncomfortable with the technology. Still others think their children are doing fine when they are actually using the devices for other things. As the academic year nears an end, districts around the country have been racing to get large numbers of no-show students back on track. Students who were struggling before the pandemic are the ones falling farthest behind. Across the Hartford school system, roughly 80% of students are at least partially active in distance learning. Among students considered most at risk because of issues including past absenteeism, disciplinary problems and poor academic performance, less than half are participating at all.

Ideas to power next school year in NYC: How to confront trauma and foster healing

Trauma: the word will hang over school communities when teachers and students return next school year, whether to campus, to remote classrooms, or to some hybrid of the two. Trauma-informed approaches will be a major focus of restart plans, according to a letter Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza sent to principals this week. Chalkbeat spoke with educators, students, and other experts about how schools can help their communities begin to process what they’ve lost and begin to heal. Recurring themes include the need to help teachers understand trauma and the importance of prioritizing student well-being over academic benchmarks.

California teachers worry gap widening for English learners during school closures

Teachers across California are worried that students who are learning English will fall behind in their language skills due to the school closures and are trying various approaches to connect with those students and their families. Even as concerns have been raised about the quality of instruction for native English speakers, those who are still new to the language face an even greater hurdle. “The big missing element is that we learn language, usually, in a face-to-face context,” said Leslie Hubbert, who teaches 3rd grade in the small agricultural town of Boonville in Mendocino County. “And English language learners are not getting as much face-to-face contact as they need. It’s just another way that this gap is widening more and more.”

How Schools in Other Countries Have Reopened

Schools around the world began reopening weeks ago, giving education leaders in the United States different playbooks to study as they wrangle with how to bring students back into buildings this fall. While no other country has been hit as hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as the United States, the early stories of reopening schools in other countries signal a path forward. District leaders here can adapt strategies used by educators in other countries to maintain social distancing and keep students safe. Education Week spoke to educators in Australia, Denmark, and Taiwan to learn about the measures and precautions they are taking as students return to school.

How Teachers Want Emergency Distance Learning Improved

Teachers from across the country reflect on their experiences teaching during the COVID-19 outbreak. In this post, seven teachers describe the emotional experience of recent months and share some of the successes and challenges of emergency distance learning. From Larry Ferlazzo: : “I would have preferred to be able to spend more time with the English language learner newcomers because those are the students — That's one of the vulnerable populations that's going to take the biggest hit from missing these last few months of school. I think most students are going to be fine, right. But ELLs, special ed students and students who face other academic challenges, they're going to take a hit. So I hope that next year, whatever we do, that we look beyond equality and focus on equity so we can provide extra support to the students who need it the most.”