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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Refugee Students Find Help in Rochester School District

About 10 percent of the 33,000 Rochester, NY, students are English language learners. Most of those are Spanish speakers, not refugees. Fewer than half of the non-English speakers are refugees — but the growing group speaks about 35 languages and more than 65 dialects, prompting a new program for English language learners.

Hablo Español

Spanish-speaking members of Reedsburg, WI now have a place to go to help them get involved in local events and everyday ventures. Ruben Yanez-Diaz began reaching out in the community this summer and has impacted many of Reedsburg's Hispanic residents in meaningful ways ever since. Whether it has been to accompany someone to the hospital or to court, Yanez-Diaz has been more than willing to help anyone he can.

Utah Minorities at Top of Class as Student Enrollment Rises

Utah schools are seeing more students — and more diversity — this year than last, according to Utah Office of Education enrollment data. Districts statewide are working to make sure they have programs in place to best serve increasingly diverse student bodies, especially Latino students. Latinos are Utah's largest minority group and make up about 14.4 percent of the state's public school students this year.

Suffering Test Anxiety: Graduation Requirements for ELLs and Special Ed Students

Inti Guaman is a senior on the brink of either going off to college or staying behind to get through high school. It all depends on how quickly he is able to soak up vocabulary words so that he can pass his High School Assessment exam in English II. Educators fear that a large number of English-language learners like Guaman, as well as a large population of special-education students, might be denied a diploma in June because they cannot pass the High School Assessments.

High School Helps Bilingual Students Dream Big

Igor Kovalchuk used to worry a lot about college. The junior at Minnesota's Shakopee High School moved to the United States from Ukraine when he was 9. Kovalchuk dreams of becoming a music producer, but neither of his parents has a college degree, and he used to believe a two-year program might be the best he could do after high school. Kovalchuk started feeling more confident after he landed in Language Enrichment for Academic Purposes (LEAP), a class in Shakopee that aims to reduce the number of bilingual students who drop out of high school or don't go to college.

Districts See Rising Numbers of Homeless Students

School districts across the country are enrolling growing numbers of homeless children, as parents lose their jobs, leases, and mortgages in what many observers are calling the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Many districts were already seeing a spike in homeless enrollments last spring, when the subprime-mortgage crisis began unfolding. But this fall's numbers are rising at an even faster clip as more families feel the fallout of a stumbling economy, said Barbara Duffield, the policy director for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, in Washington.

New ESL Testing Brings 'Fs' for Some Schools

This year for the first time English language learners took the same Illinois Standards Achievement Test as other students did. Results released today show many of these students scored poorly on the reading portion of the test. That was enough to get 69 schools state wide labeled as failing. West suburban Elgin took it hard — almost half of the district's elementary schools didn't meet the mark. This means that Elgin may need to rethink how it's educating students who aren't fluent in English.

University of Arkansas Head Says Undocumented Students Deserve Degrees, Too

The head of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville said the state must do everything it can to encourage more students to seek bachelor's degrees — including possibly offering undocumented immigrants the lower tuition rates given to residents. University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart stopped just short of endorsing a possible measure by an incoming state senator that would give in-state tuition rates to undocumented students. However, the head of the Fayetteville university said most higher education officials want to be "frankly forgiving if we can" when it comes to students living without documentation in the state.

Challenge for the Next President: Education

In this letter to Senators McCain and Obama, Harold L. Sirkin, a Chicago-based senior partner of The Boston Consulting Group and author, writes, "Clearly one of your challenges as the next President is to revive American education. The key is not how much we spend, but spending smarter. If we don't, America will find itself falling further behind those countries that can and do properly educate their children. And we will have to import more talent, a challenge in a global economy already struggling with talent shortages."