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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Commentary: Language Barrier Falls in Toronto

At Toronto's Braeburn Junior School, principal Monica Francis can't believe the difference a year makes. Even with a large population of ESL students, from both the Etobicoke First Nations community and a growing Somali community, Braeburn didn't have a single ESL teacher to assist them. The gap at Braeburn was hardly unique: Almost half of all Ontario elementary schools with ESL students lacked an English-as-a-Second Language teacher. That has changed, however. After complaints from immigrant parents and even the Ontario auditor general, this year the Toronto school district will increase ESL funding and the number of ESL teachers throughout the district.

Testing, Fluency Pressures Build in Massachusetts

Most of the students who are learning to speak English with teacher Mary DeSimone in Lawrence, MA are motivated to be successful, with many of their parents working two jobs to open opportunities for them. But when it comes to the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), the pressure is high: It takes five to seven years on average to become fluent in a language, and eighth-graders have three years to pass 10th-grade MCAS exams in English to get a diploma, DeSimone said.

Kids Beg for Better Schools at Chicago Hearing

More than a dozen Chicago public school students stepped one by one into a federal witness box Thursday to testify that a 28-year-old desegregation consent decree has failed them. They begged for more diversity in their schools, for more and better books, and for better teachers in those schools the district says it's been unable to desegregate — just as the 1980 decree originally promised.

Library Program Teaches Bilingual Skills Early

As fluffy snow fell on a recent afternoon, a group of children indoors had no need of it to create their own winter wonderland. They delighted in making imaginary snow angels and snowmen inside the warm and cozy children's department at the library in Stratford, CT. The activities were part of the library's monthly bilingual storytime program.

Mixed Heritage Said to Present Complex Issues

With Barack Obama making history by becoming the United States' first mixed-race president, his inauguration is calling attention to the nation's growing multiracial population, whose youngest members are showing up with increasing frequency at schoolhouse doors. Yet while the growth of the U.S. population of children with mixed-race backgrounds has been long in coming, little is known about how such children are doing in the classroom.

A Fence Can't Stop the Future

In this article for Newsweek's recent pre-inauguration issue, Henry Cisneros writes, "America has long been the envy of the rest of the world, and for good reason. Over the past century, the United States has harnessed its economic, scientific, cultural and educational resources to produce remarkable achievements in every field of human endeavor. But with nations like China and India emerging as major powers, many argue that U.S. dominance will soon be eclipsed, and what is known as the American Century will soon be over. Our fate is far from sealed, though. Whether America surmounts its challenges or slides to the middle of the pack will likely depend on its fastest-growing segment: the Latino community."

Teen Beat Language Barrier to Rise to Top of His Class

Knowing only Spanish wasn't the only obstacle Ruben Jauregui faced five years ago when he left Mexico to start a new life in Texas. He had to put up with Latino classmates who ridiculed him for wanting to speak English. Ruben, now a 17-year-old senior at Grand Prairie High School, didn't let the teasing stop him. He mastered English, rose to No. 1 in his class and is deciding whether to accept a full scholarship from prestigious Rice University or ultra-prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In School for the First Time, Teenage Immigrants Struggle

Fanta Konneh is the first girl in her family to go to school. Not the first to go to college, or to graduate from high school. Fanta, 18, who grew up in Guinea after her family fled Liberia, became the first to walk into a classroom of any kind last year. New York City classrooms have long been filled with children from all over the world, and the education challenges they bring with them. But hidden among the nearly 150,000 students across the city still struggling to learn English are an estimated 15,100 who, like Fanta, have had little or no formal schooling and are often illiterate in their native languages.

Hundreds Attend Education Summit for Latino Students

Aspiring college students and their parents recently packed the classrooms and halls of the California State East Bay campus to get a heads-up on higher education during the ninth annual Latino Education Summit. The free, five-hour event drew 500 to 700 attendees, who took advantage of bilingual workshops presented by faculty and students on topics including high school prerequisite courses needed to qualify for university admission, fitness and physical education, grants, scholarships, and financial aid.

Libraries Sow Urban Peace in Colombia

In the mornings, when his mother leaves for work downtown, Juan David Camelo goes to the lcao La Marichuela library in a neighborhood in the southern outskirts of Bogotá. The 12-year-old already considers himself a good reader. He is into the <em>Harry Potter</em> books and dreams of being a nurse. Juan David is one of 3,800 daily users of the Bibliored network of libraries in Colombia.