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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Teens Prove Adversity Doesn't Have to Impede Education

Tevin Bradley ran with the wrong crowd, started doing drugs when he was 14 and picked fights so frequently that he was kicked out of a continuation school for troubled teens. So when the 17-year-old received his high school diploma Saturday, it symbolized not only academic achievement but also a radical life change. Bradley was among more than 170 teenagers who completed their high school education through alternative programs run by the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

Commentary: Our ELL Program a Success

In this commentary, an ELL director writes, "English Language Learner education in the elementary grades is about using the native language to facilitate and accelerate the learning of English as a second language. To facilitate the learning not only of the English needed to function in society, but also the academic one, the one that allows students to be successful learners once they transition into general education, and the one that allows them to graduate from high school and attend college."

Iraqi Refugee Sinks Roots in Atlanta

Since the war in Iraq began in 2003, an estimated 4.7 million Iraqis have fled their homes, scattering within the country and beyond. In mid-2007, the U.S. government began resettling Iraqi refugees in this country, and Atlanta is a prime destination for them. Last year, NPR introduced its audience to a single mother of three who heads one of the first refugee families to arrive in Atlanta. A year later, Bothinaa Mohammed remains happy to be in U.S., but the transition hasn't been easy.

Puerto Rico Attains Low NAEP Scores

Students in Puerto Rico's public schools are faring poorly in mathematics compared with their peers in the 50 states or even large urban districts, according to results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress released last week. Those results from the commonwealth were reported in a complicated format because of concerns about the validity of the scores the 4th and 8th graders received on the 500-point scale normally used in NAEP reports.

Returning Migrants Find Mexico, Themselves Unready to Adapt

When her 3-year-old son begs for pizza, or when her family is shivering through yet another night in the Mexican highlands, those are the moments when Rosario Araujo misses America the most. Just three months ago, Araujo and her husband, José Zavala, were still living comfortably, though illegally, as migrant workers in Gilbert. But when work dried up in the economic crisis, they were forced to head south. The family is part of a small but growing number of Mexican migrants who are heading home because of the U.S. recession and finding Mexico is barely prepared to receive them.

ELL Numbers Balloon in North Dakota

Amera Issa excitedly raises her hand to answer almost every question her teacher asks. Amazing, considering the 8-year-old second-grader at Century Elementary in Grand Forks is new to the English language. Issa is a Somali English Language Learner and a refugee. Her family came here from Syria after a short stay in Atlanta, Ga., where she attended school for the first time. The 11 children in her family are spread out around the world but safe from the turmoil they once faced. In Grand Forks, the number of ELL students has increased by about 40 from last year, to about 110, and is still growing.

Americans, Europeans Split On Immigration Views

According to a survey by The German Marshall Fund, both Americans and Europeans are anxious most of all about illegal immigrants who represent only a small portion of the whole population. Large majorities of both Europeans and Americans believe immigrants should have knowledge of the national language and have a job offer before being admitted into their countries. But Americans and Europeans differ on solutions.

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.