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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As coronavirus took jobs or workers fell ill, teen children have toiled full-time, becoming lifelines

In a world without covid-19, Jael Marquez would be a junior walking the halls of Denver’s Vista Academy, a small public school on the city’s outskirts. Instead, he is one of thousands of teens across the country working the forgotten front lines of the pandemic — in grocery and big-box stores — keeping essential links in the nation’s food supply intact while eschewing almost everything about being a teenager.

How White Parents Can Talk To Their Kids About Race

Most people have heard about "the talk" — the conversation many African American parents have with their kids about how to avoid altercations with police or what to do and say if they're stopped. The recent unrest sparked by anger over police brutality against African Americans has parents who aren't black thinking more about how they talk to their kids about race. Michel Martin, weekend host of All Things Considered, spoke with Jennifer Harvey, author of Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America.

How We Talk About the Achievement Gap Could Worsen Public Racial Biases Against Black Students

Quick quiz: What share of black students graduate high school? By the most recent count, 4 out of 5 black students graduate in four years with a regular diploma, according to federal figures. But after watching coverage of test scores focused on racial achievement gaps between black and white students, people tend to think black students' graduation rates are much lower. The way the education media and policymakers frame education debates can have longer-term effects on how the public thinks about black students and the kinds of policies it will support to improve their learning. "Deficit" framing can worsen the stress students from traditionally disadvantaged racial backgrounds feel in academic settings and create stereotype threat, making it more difficult for them to perform at their best. But in a broader sense, deficit framing of educational debates may change how the public at large thinks about the root problems of education inequities and what support they will give for policies to solve them.

How to Assess English-Learners' Needs From a Distance? Here's Some Help

School districts are enrolling newly arrived students and children scheduled to start kindergarten in the fall—and federal law mandates that districts screen the students to determine if they need English-learner support services. Districts are using home-language surveys to determine if students are eligible to take an English-language screening test. But with social distancing requirements that prevent face-to-face screenings, schools must find other ways to assess how much support new English-learners will need in remote learning environments or when classes resume. To help out, the Council of the Great City Schools, a membership organization of the nation's large, urban school systems, has developed a set of sample questionnaires to be used as provisional screeners for English proficiency during the COVID-19 outbreak.

How Indigenous, Black and POC Educators Envision a Better School Experience

When most of the nation’s schools closed in March due to COVID-19, educators turned to whatever methods they could to keep learning going — from online classes to phone calls to drive-by packet pick-ups. Still, many students were unreachable, and as teachers navigated those challenges, they turned up the volume on discussion about educational inequities. Much of focus has been on computer and internet access, but there’s more to equity than technology, according to Tricia Ebarvia, a high school English teacher in Pennsylvania. “We have to think about the ways in which we are recreating the systems and structures that have resulted in racial inequities in in-person education, but now in an online environment. And actually exacerbating them,” Ebarvia said. Ebarvia and Massachusetts-based literacy organizer Kimberly N. Parker are the cofounders of #31DaysIBPOC, a blog series that spotlighted the voices of indigenous, black and people of color educators throughout May.

Districts seek distance ed ELL improvement ahead of fall

Many of the nation’s 5 million English language learners lost English instruction time when schools shifted to remote learning. School closures have condensed language classes and robbed students of the opportunity to regularly practice their non-native languages. The closures have been particularly difficult for dual immersion programs, which teach both English learners and native speakers in a single class in an attempt to build proficiency in two languages. José Medina, an educational consultant and expert on dual language immersion programs, recommends continuing the in-school language mix model even while online. If the class has been practicing a 50/50 mix, educators should continue to provide half of the instruction in each language. There are ways students can continue to listen to their non-native language even when they are at home.

National Museum of African American History and Culture Releases “Talking About Race” Web Portal

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture today launched Talking About Race, a new online portal designed to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and the way these forces shape every aspect of society, from the economy and politics to the broader American culture. The online portal provides digital tools, online exercises, video instructions, scholarly articles and more than 100 multi-media resources tailored for educators, parents and caregivers—and individuals committed to racial equality.

Antiracist Resources and Reads: Lists for All Ages

A blog, no matter what its subject, no matter how large or small its reach, is a platform. You use it to make your thoughts and feelings known. What can a white librarian do to help, even a little, when injustice is so blatant? You can be an ally. You can work to actually actively fight racism when you hear it, see it, and you can acknowledge it. You can listen. Project Ready, a free online professional development curriculum by UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science (and that my library has been using to regularly educate its employees), created a rundown of what allyship entails. Yesterday, I was asked to create a booklist for my city’s patrons of some antiracist titles. I was immediately helped by about eight of my colleagues and, together, we created the following list of links. Please use this where it is most needed.

Kojo For Kids: Jason Reynolds Talks About Racism And The Protests

Best-selling YA author Jason Reynolds has grappled with racism personally and in his writing. The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature also recently co-authored a book for young people on fighting racism: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. We’ve asked Jason Reynolds to join Kojo For Kids to help us understand what has led to the tensions we’ve seen over the last week, and to talk about why racism persists and what we can do to build a less racist society.

What Teachers Should Learn From the Death of George Floyd

The death of George Floyd, the community response to it, and the subsequent police violence are shedding some light on racism and its effects — in our country, our communities, and in our institutions — including in schools. Two teachers reflect and communicate about what they think educators should learn from the murder of George Floyd, including the importance of being anti-racist and challenging White teachers to acknowledge their implicit biases.