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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Charges of Bias Over Bilingual Program in Watts

When Ritter Elementary School was selected to Partnership for Los Angeles Schools in May, parents and teachers were told to expect reform and change for the better on the campus. They had no idea, however, that the program, led by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, would include suspension of the school's dual-language curriculum.

Symphony Helps Bridge Two Cultures

Despite going to school in Van Nuys, an area with several synagogues and a large Jewish community, fourth-grader Macarena Reyes had never set foot inside a Jewish temple or learned a Hebrew word until Monday. After weeks of receiving lessons from musicians with the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, Reyes and hundreds of other kids from predominantly Latino public schools got a chance to hear a full-length concert at the Westwood temple. The event culminated an educational program launched by the symphony as a way to bridge the gap between the two cultures.

As Obama Panel Studies Education Dept., Search for Secretary Continues

One month after the election, neither President-elect Barack Obama nor his transition team had given any serious indication about who might be the next U.S. secretary of education. Even before the election, observers said Arne Duncan, the chief executive officer of the Chicago public schools, would be an obvious candidate to take the job in an Obama administration, given his work over the past seven years as the top public school official in Mr. Obama's hometown and his personal relationship with the president-elect. Other potential candidates for education secretary include several current or former governors.

Professor Uses Translation to Bridge Cultures

There is little that good friends won't do for each other: helping with homework, lending clothes, listening to secrets. For Spanish professor Linda Elman, her list includes translating a children's book. Jane Bomberger, a personal friend of Elman, wrote the book <em>No One Ever Said a Brand-New Brother/Sister Would be Fun!</em> as part of her work for the Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana. The foundation wanted to promote the book to the large Hispanic population in northwest Indiana, so Bomberger asked Elman to translate it into Spanish. "It was an interesting process between two people, two cultures, two languages, two families," she said.

Gates Grants Aim to Help Low-Income Students Finish College

With concerns growing that the recession will make it even harder for low-income students to remain in college, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday announced nearly $70 million in grants as part of an ambitious initiative: to double the number of low-income students who earn a college degree or vocational credential by age 26.

Advocates Call for Reforms in Public Education

Five Texas education leaders are proposing college or workplace readiness as the standard for all high school graduates in their plan to improve public education. They also advocate a better accountability system, more money to improve student performance, and a shared partnership between the state and local school districts. The education leaders have often disagreed on education ideas but drafted a framework of shared principles they believe can serve as a starting ground for continued debate.

Student Perspective: Programs Aimed at Helping Classmates Adjust to Language

Ben Storer, a senior at New Hampshire's Nashua High School North, writes in this column, "Although America is a land of immigrants, throughout history, many Americans have hesitated to welcome newcomers. Even today, many want immigrants and refugees to assimilate quickly and are ambivalent about accommodations they believe might slow down the Americanization of new arrivals. Nevertheless, the Nashua School District is doing its part to help young arrivals prepare for their future in America. The English Language Learner program aims to help young immigrants quickly learn to speak and write English."

Immigrant Wins Award For Scholarship Work

A Mexican immigrant gardener in the Bay Area has just been awarded a $100,000 National Purpose Prize for his work raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to send Hispanic kids to college. Catalino Tapia saved all his money to send his son to college. When his son graduated, he got the idea to create Bay Area Gardeners Foundation to help other Hispanic youth get a college education.

Study Rebuts Perceptions of Migrants' English Use

Phoenix resident Guadalupe Garcia has lived in the United States for nearly 35 years, but she still doesn't speak English well. Her situation is the kind that fuels perceptions that recent waves of Spanish-speaking immigrants, unlike earlier waves of immigrants, are reluctant to learn English. But new research turns that assumption on its head.

Need Rises for Help in English

With the number of students in the English Language Learners group in Massachusetts' Gill-Montague Regional School District increasing, the School Department has had to increase teaching hours to reach state-mandated requirement for the program. The half-time English Language Learners teacher position was increased to full-time as of this month to bring the district and its five schools into compliance with state mandates.

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