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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University of Colorado Recruits NFL Player to Help with Diversity Efforts

The University of Colorado has commissioned Denver Bronco Daniel Graham to help recruit minority students. CU is providing high schools with Spanish brochures to outline what classes students need to take to be college-ready. And the university added members to its outside panel that advises top officials on diversity issues. Diversity czars updated the Board of Regents on outreach efforts Wednesday, and provided them with new statistics that show while the Boulder campus enrolled the largest number of freshman minorities this fall, the proportion of students of color has remained at 15 percent since 2005.

The Littlest Victims of the Mortgage Crisis

The long arm of the global financial crisis reached down into Morena Parada's preschool classroom, where a little girl named Joeli Arias-Lopez painted bright green and orange splotches on an oversize easel and pronounced it a house. The 4-year-old was blissfully unaware that her school, the Child and Family Network Center, stays open in this converted warehouse with a grant from the now-foundering Freddie Mac Foundation. Or that without that money, which was expected last month, her school, filled with bright puzzles, toys, blocks, and dedicated teachers, might end the year early or close down altogether.

Opinion: California Is Cutting Education Funding at Its Own Peril

Saree Makdisi, a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA, writes, "With California's budget now facing an $11-billion shortfall, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed billions of dollars in spending cuts, most of them aimed at the state's already beleaguered schools, colleges and universities. The governor's proposal is now on the table of the special legislative session that he called to address the budget crisis, so this is the time to draw a line to defend our public education system, before any further damage is added to the toll already taken by years of budget cuts on the educational — and hence life — prospects of a whole generation of Californian students."

Conquering the Language Barrier

Inside Maryland's Corkran Middle School a small-class of students are raising their hands as high as they can go, straining to answer questions from a calm, collected teacher. The room is arranged in five or six rows, each with four desks facing a screen where English for Speakers of Other Languages teacher Amy Evers is directing the traffic. Corkran's ESOL program is one of two mini-cluster programs for county middle schools, and what the students learn in these classes profoundly affects their ability to grasp all other subjects.

Juliet V. Garcia and Obama's Transition Team

In her "Learning the Language" blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "President-elect Barack Obama's transition team includes at least one person — Juliet V. Garcia, the president of the University of Texas at Brownsville — who must know quite a lot about English-language learners. Her university is located on the bank of the Rio Grande River, which defines the U.S.-Mexico border, and enrolls a great number of ELLs or former ELLs."

Immersion Helps Students Become Bilingual

On tiny desks lie books like "Huevos verdes con jamón," ("Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss) and "Si Le Das Una Galletita a Un Raton." ("If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Joffe Numeroff.) The textbooks and bulletin boards are in Spanish, the displayed student writing assignments are in Spanish, and the teacher speaks only in Spanish. The dual-language immersion program at High Point Elementary school in Clearwater, FL is an innovative program that helps both Spanish- and English-speaking children become bilingual and biliterate in both English and Spanish.

Official Backs Bilingual Education in Australia

Australia's Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma has foreshadowed a massive backlash in remote Aboriginal communities if the Northern Territory government proceeds with plans to effectively scrap bilingual education. During a public lecture on Monday night, Mr. Calma said it was a fallacy that bilingual education "killed off English literacy," and even suggested the government initiative could violate human rights which stipulate indigenous people should be allowed to control their educational systems and provide education in their own languages.

Education-Related Ballot Items Reflect Fiscal, Policy Concerns

Maryland is getting slot machines in exchange for about $660 million for education. Oregon's schools can continue to teach English-language learners in their native language for as long as they want. And Nebraska universities and school programs won't be able to use race as a factor in admissions. Far down on state ballots across the country, those and at least a dozen other measures affecting education and hot-button social issues were decided on Election Day by voters.

Dallas Schools Used False Hiring Data

Eager to hire teachers for bilingual education programs, the Dallas public school system assigned fake Social Security numbers to newly hired foreigners so it could get them on the payroll quickly, an internal investigation found. The district continued the practice for years, the investigation found, even after it was admonished by a state agency. It was only halted this summer.

'Our Kids Are Lost': Advocates Express Concerns

Most Erie School District students who do not speak English are placed in traditional classrooms alongside their English-speaking peers for much of the school day. But now the leaders of several local social-service agencies are lobbying the district to change the practice of "mainstreaming," claiming that it hurts struggling students who still need to develop basic language and reading skills.

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