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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How Can Stimulus Funds Be Used for ELLs? Let's Count the Ways

In her "Learning the Language" blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "A group of researchers who are experts on English-language learners and well-respected in the education field are poised to release recommendations this week on how states and school districts should use stimulus funds to improve education for English-language learners. The group of 14 researchers drew up the recommendations because they didn't want ELLs to lose out on the benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, said Diane August, a senior research scientist at the Center for Applied Linguistics, who helped convene the group and sent me the document."

Family Stories as Secret Text for Immigrants

Angela Wu Cen, 19, knew many details about her parents' 13-year migration from China to Panama to New York. But she had never known much about a more intimate aspect of her parents' lives: their courtship. So when Ms. Wu, who was born in Panama and was 12 when the family came to the United States, sat down to interview her mother for an honors seminar at Hunter College last month, she was surprised to learn that her parents' marriage had not been the fruit of a long romance, as she had assumed, but had come about in a matter of weeks.

Influx of Immigrants Puts Pressure on Middle Tennessee Schools

Bu Gay likes math class and learning to read American books. For reasons she can't articulate in English, she doesn't like cutting things out with scissors. Does the petite 14-year-old find school hard? "Not hard," she says. Is she smart? "I don't know," she shyly says, with a laugh. The simple conversation represents a lot of progress for Bu, her school's administrators say. When she came to Tennessee from Thailand back during the summer, questions in English got little more than smiles and nods. The number of ELL students statewide is up 10 percent this year compared with last. In some counties around the state, enrollment in English learner programs has doubled or even tripled since 2005.

UK: English Is a Second Language for One in Seven School Pupils

One in seven primary school pupils in the United Kingdom does not speak English as a first language. The number who normally speak a foreign language rose last year to 565,888 — 14.3 per cent of the total. In some areas, English is a foreign language to more than 70 per cent of four to 11-year-olds, putting enormous pressure on teaching staff. And there are ten schools without a single pupil who has English as a first language, new figures show. Teachers say large concentrations of children with a poor grasp of English can lead to some schools being unfairly condemned by inspectors

Scholars Mull The 'Paradox' of Immigrants

The academic success, tendency to stay out of trouble, and physical health of children of immigrants to the United States tend to decline significantly from the first to the third generation. That troubling pattern brought researchers together here recently at Brown University to examine a provocative question: Is becoming American a developmental risk?

Pink Slips in Schools Bring Out Pink-Filled Protests

As California's deadline for layoff notices arrived, teachers, students and sympathizers protested on "Pink Slip Friday" last week around San Luis Obispo County by cutting class, wearing pink, marching along streets, and gathering at rallies. The most vocal demonstrations took place in the South County's Lucia Mar school district, where the day began with an estimated 900 of Nipomo High School's 1,200 students refusing to attend class. They rallied to support teachers there and elsewhere in the district who recently received layoff notices.

Bilingual Reading Program Mutual Learning Experience

Teaching has become a learning experience for Spanish Honor Society students at Delaware's Glasgow High School. The students volunteer to read in Spanish and English to young children during Bilingual Story Time at their local library. Library specialist Adriana Camacho-Church, who started the program at the library three years ago so young children could become bilingual, said she sees the older children benefiting with them, because it gives them an outlet to practice.

Effect of Stimulus on NCLB Renewal Mulled

Even as states and school districts prepare to absorb billions of dollars in economic-stimulus aid for education, policymakers and analysts are quietly discussing whether the infusion of federal cash may reshape the landscape around reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. The 7-year-old law has long been criticized as underfunded — a critique some say has less validity after passage last month of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, whose aims include stemming a potential wave of layoffs and programmatic cuts in education.

Where Education and Assimilation Collide

Walking the halls of Cecil D. Hylton High School in the suburbs outside of Washington, DC, it is hard to detect any trace of the divisions that once seemed fixtures in American society. Walk with immigrant students, however, and the rest of the school feels a world apart. By design, they attend classes almost exclusively with one another, take separate field trips, and organize separate clubs. As a result, Hylton's faculty remains torn over how to educate its immigrant population.

Opinion: Lowering Bar on Teachers' ESOL Training in Florida Is a Bad Idea

A quarter-million Florida kids are learning English for the first time. In South Florida, it's about one in seven children. Under state rules, they're expected to master the language in two years and pass the FCAT … I'm all for setting high standards for students. What's incomprehensible is the state Department of Education's push to lower the bar for teachers who are supposed to help students reach ever-higher expectations under FCAT and the federal No Child Left Behind law.