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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Judo Technique Good on Wrestling Mat, Too

Talking wrestling no longer requires Shunichiro Uno of Bettendorf to double-check his English dictionary. The senior two-time state placewinner known as "Shun" to his teammates and coaches has become proficient in all things that help a judo enthusiast become a top performer on another mat. "I moved to Bettendorf when I was in eighth grade because my father works for John Deere," said Uno, who grew up two hours outside of Tokyo. While he was in an English language learner class, a teacher suggested he look into wrestling because of its similarity — trying to get an opponent on his back.

Supreme Court to Hear Arizona ELL Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to step into a long-running lawsuit in Arizona over funding for services to English language learners. The justices accepted appeals from legislative leaders and the state schools superintendent of lower-court rulings that Arizona was not adequately funding ELL programs under federal law. A federal judge has ordered the state legislature to increase funding for such programs or else face fines of as much as $2 million per day.

Latino Leader to Fill Seat on Columbus School Board

A leader in Columbus' Latino community will be the next member of the Columbus school board, adding representation from the schools' fastest-growing ethnic group to the district leadership. School board members voted unanimously yesterday to appoint Ramona Reyes, president of the Columbus Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, to fill a vacant seat. Reyes, 39, will be the only Latino member of the school board.

Program Aims to Raise Latino Enrollment

Hoping to boost Latino college enrollment, a federal education agency has partnered with local community organizations in Long Beach, CA to create six centers offering students help in completing financial aid applications. Federal Student Aid, part of the U.S. Department of Education, has selected Long Beach as one of three cities nationally to take part in a pilot program to boost aid to underserved youth.

Education Nominee Is Warmly Received in Senate

Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan, President-elect Barack Obama's pick for education secretary, promised yesterday to work to expand preschool, build the ranks of quality teachers, and support such initiatives as charter schools and performance pay, setting out an agenda that won him broad bipartisan support at a Senate confirmation hearing.

District Forms Group for Parents of ELLs

The school district of Norwalk, CT is creating a group for parents of English language learners to investigate how the program can be improved. Helene Becker, instructional specialist for the English Language Learner program, said, "We want parents' reactions to what we're doing and we want to see how parents can help us have a good program," Becker said. "I think once we see who's on the committee, its function will be more clearly defined." About 10 percent of Norwalk's 10,000 students are English language learners.

Letter to Editor: Education Cuts Affect ESL Students

In this letter, Renton Technical College teacher Elizabeth Falconer writes, "I realize we are currently in a state of crisis because of the grim economic situation, but I hope that there are no further cuts to the already deeply cut basic-studies departments of local colleges. It is in these departments that the local immigrant population is working hard to better their skills in order to become productive, active members of our community."

An Uncertain Outlook for High School Students

The price tag for college looks pretty daunting in the best of times. But with the economy struggling, those bills look out of reach for a lot of prospective students. As part of our series "Faces of the New Economy," host Rebecca Roberts visits with a group of juniors and seniors at Fairfax High School in Northern Virginia — and finds many who are downgrading their college dreams.

Churches Reaching out to Refugees

Several churches in Abilene, TX and their members are reaching out to people from war-torn countries seeking refuge in the area. Churches are helping refugees learn English, assisting with transportation and basic needs, and aiding them with transition into American culture. Some are even holding religious services in a different language so refugees can worship as they did back home. Refugees come to Abilene with the help of the International Rescue Committee. Since 2003, the nonprofit agency has placed about 600 refugees in Abilene from countries all over the world whose lives have been shattered by violence and oppression.

Spanish Club Works for Unity

The Hispanic Community Project at Wisconsin's Evansville High School is a Spanish Club with a twist. The club adviser, Diego Ojeda, said it was important to add social consciousness to the club. "We want to focus on diversity and tolerance," said Ojeda, Spanish teacher at the school. "When they (students) get out of Evansville, they are going to see a lot of diversity." The student group aims to use Spanish-speaking skills to further integrate the Hispanic and Anglo communities in Evansville.