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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Are 'Newcomer' Schools Inherently Segregated?

Jeff Sorensen's students are wary of strangers. A mix of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from impoverished and war-torn countries, they thrive on routine. Sorensen's "newcomers" program at Glendale Middle School is meant to ease non-English speaking refugees and immigrants into their new surroundings through specialized instruction and smaller class sizes. But a community activist alleges the program isolates kids and constitutes a form of "institutional racism."

What Will It Take To Increase Hispanics in STEM? Money, of Course

The National Science Foundation recently came to Hispanic-serving institutions for advice on the best way to tackle the dearth of Latinos in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The advice from college administrators gathered for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities' Capitol Forum came back loud and clear: Pay Hispanic students to do research. Or you'll never get them — and keep them — in STEM fields.

Protest of Language Test Gets Student Suspended

An Iowa teenager was suspended from school this week because she refused to take a test for students who are not fluent in English. Lori Phanachone, the U.S.-born daughter of immigrants from Laos, says she proved her grasp of English in other ways. The Storm Lake High School senior has a near-perfect grade-point average and acceptance letters from two Iowa colleges.

Program Helps Parents with Reading Skills

Greenwich mother Reina Garay says it's reassuring to know that she can help her daughter become more literate in English without speaking the language herself. A native of Mexico, Garay is still learning English and, like many immigrant parents, has sometimes shied away from giving homework help in her native language out of fear that it could hinder her daughter's reading and writing development. Thanks to a new literacy program for immigrant parents, the 27-year-old mother is now learning that basic literacy skills often transcend language barriers.

Hispanics One-Fifth of K-12 Students

Roughly one-fourth of the nation's kindergartners are Hispanic, evidence of an accelerating trend that now will see minority children become the majority by 2023. Census data released Thursday also showed that Hispanics make up about one-fifth of all K-12 students. Hispanics' growth and changes in the youth population are certain to influence political debate, from jobs and immigration to the No Child Left Behind education, for years.

Studies Support Benefits of Educational TV for Reading

Even the harshest critics of the role that television plays in children's lives would have a hard time arguing that Elmo and Big Bird are bad for youngsters. From the earliest days of "Sesame Street" nearly four decades ago, educational television has earned high praise and millions of fans for entertaining and educating young children. Now, a new generation of programs, and a rigorous research effort to test its impact, is adding to the "Sesame Street" legacy and working to clarify for parents the potential benefits of television viewing, particularly for literacy development.

ABCs of Bilingual Literacy

Samantha Mazurek has more than one reason to be proud of her latest school project. A member of the Amistades program in Minnesota's Northfield Middle School, the sixth-grader just finished researching, writing and illustrating an alphabet book in Spanish, which in itself is tough work for any student. But what makes Mazurek really excited is the fact that her book, along with 84 other Spanish alphabet books hand-made by her fellow students, will be donated to Latino families in Northfield to promote early childhood, native-language literacy.

Help for Part-time Students Among Recommendations Urged To Improve Latino Educational Attainment

Warning of an education crisis for the nation's burgeoning Latino population, academic researchers and advocates came to Capitol Hill last week, calling for quick action to avert that crisis. Dr. Patricia Gándara, a University of California, Los Angeles, education professor and author of the new book <em>The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policies</em>, told a crowd in a Senate conference room that her objective "was to try to make clear how terribly urgent this is."

Latino Chamber of Commerce President Addresses Students

Carlos Gonzalez, the president of the Latino Chamber of Commerce and an alumnus of the University of Massachusetts, came to speak to students on the future of Latino businesses, politics and community responsibility. Gonzalez, who founded the Latino Chamber of Commerce in 2004, spoke to those gathered about the importance of running one's own business.

CA High School Examines Latino Students' College Readiness

This year, only five of the 75 students in freshman honors English class at Sonoma Valley High School are Latino. The high school student population is 37 percent Latino, but that ratio doesn't hold in the Advanced Placement (AP) and honors classes that are critical to gain entrance to four-year universities. Improving that ratio is one of the goals that the high school has outlined in the detailed plan it prepares to maintain accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.