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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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.

Nashville Won't Make English Official Language

Nashville voters on Thursday rejected a proposal to make English the city's official language and largely to prevent government workers from communicating in other languages. "The results of this special election reaffirm Nashville's identity as a welcoming and friendly city," Mayor Karl Dean said in a statement.

Some Japanese Learn English With Obama Speeches

A new book called <em>The Speeches of Barack Obama</em> tops the best-seller list on Amazon's Japanese Web site. The book includes Obama's speeches from the 2004 Democratic National Convention and the 2008 campaign. The speeches are written in English with Japanese translations, and they're packaged with a CD. More than 400,000 copies have been sold. The publisher says speeches by U.S. presidents and presidential candidates are excellent for learning English.

Elementary Schools Offer Bilingual Classes

When Jessi Wong attended elementary school, it was against the rules to speak Spanish. Now, she is the coordinator of bilingual, ESL and migrant education for Texas' New Braunfels Independent School District. Wong has seen the old attitudes about using Spanish in classrooms change as the demand and need for bilingual education rises.

As Bush, Spellings Exit, They Put Last Signatures on No Child Left Behind

Through its last days in office, the Bush administration was seeking to preserve its legacy under the No Child Left Behind Act. President George W. Bush chose to give the final policy speech of his presidency on the law that was one of the most important domestic accomplishments of his eight years in office.

Opinion: English-Only Amendment Flawed but Raises Valid Concerns

Wendy Wilson, an ESL teacher, writes in this opinion column about Nashville's proposed English-only amendment, "I plan to vote against the amendment, primarily because I think backer Eric Crafton has failed to articulate the specific policy changes that would result from its passage &#133; Yet, as an ESL teacher who promotes assimilation, I believe in encouraging a common language and culture."

Opinion: Children Often Caught in Translating Nightmares

Gregory Plemmons, M.D., medical director for the outpatient center and assistant professor of general pediatrics at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital, writes in this opinion column about Nashville's proposed English-only amendment, "Using children as translators is common practice in many immigrant-rich states, yet children often lack the vocabulary and the psychological and emotional maturity required to communicate health information. The cost of providing translation services is a burden with no easy short-term solutions, but the English-only initiative will do nothing to address this."

Obama Cites Schools in Inaugural Address

President Barack Obama yesterday cited the shortcomings of the nation's schools as one part of the broader economic crisis and called on Americans to come together to tackle the country's challenges in a spirit of public service and personal accountability. The president did not offer details, but the fact that schools made such an early appearance in the speech suggests that he sees education as a policy priority, said Paul Manna, a professor at the College of William and Mary who has studied the role of politics in education.

Immigrants Learning Math Alongside English

Dr. Jose Ortiz has been in charge of what he calls a revolution in the New Haven Public Schools' English Language Learners program. He's doing it, he said, against a system whose testing requirements and mandates are stacked against many of the immigrant kids, largely from Latin America, who often cycle in and out of the New Haven Public Schools. Three years ago he introduced sheltered content instruction, in which students stay in mainstream classes and work with teachers who are doubly certified as bilingual teachers and content teachers.

Obama Gets Advice, Letters From Young Navajos

As he prepares to take over the Oval Office, President-elect Barack Obama is getting plenty of advice. And some of it is coming from Navajo students in Arizona. In letters to the incoming president, the youngsters describe their lives — and ask some probing questions. The project was the idea of Margaret Erhart, who teaches creative writing at Eagle's Nest Intermediate School in the high desert of northern Arizona. The school is in Tuba City, Ariz., on the Navajo Nation reservation.