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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English Is a Second Language for One in Eight Pupils in England

A new government report in England reveals that, nationwide, one in eight pupils speaks English as a second language. In some areas more than 70 per cent of pupils arriving at the school gates do not speak English as their mother tongue. The figures give the sharpest snapshot yet of the scale of the challenge facing schools around the country.

Gloria Estefan Will Sing for School Funding in Florida

Florida is still in the dark when it comes to school funding, according to Gloria Estefan, who Monday announced her first South Florida concert in four years — a partial fundraiser for education groups from Miami-Dade to Indian River counties. Amid the hubbub of a show-biz news conference set in a hotel casino, Estefan spoke passionately about her support for public education. State promises have been broken for years, including when voters were told the Florida Lottery would help save the education system, Estefan said. "It was a travesty," she said.

Texas Likely to Appeal Court Ruling on English Language Learner Programs

Texas officials say that they are likely to appeal a federal court order telling the state it must, by the 2009-10 school year, revamp programs for English-language learners in grades 7-12 and improve monitoring of programs for ELLs in all grades. But the July 25 order in the long-running case of <em>U.S. v. Texas</em> has drawn praise from ELL advocates, who hope it will spur improvement of the quality of education for English-language learners in middle and high schools across the nation.

Schools Struggle to Pay for English-Learner Program

Arizona public schools have struggled with how to pay for a new state program teaching immigrant students English, especially since districts requested around $300 million but received only $40 million. At Arizona's largest district, with 73,000 students, Mesa Public Schools administrators received $1.8 million in state money for the new English-learner program, but they expect to spend about $7 million. It meant digging to find another $5.2 million out of a slim budget, which already had to be cut by $13 million. More than 100 district positions were left unfilled, including associate superintendent and school librarians.

Indiana Schools Learning to Teach Non-English Students

Many migrant families are looking to Northwest Indiana and other parts of the state for a place to settle in the United States. Nationally, Indiana ranks third for drawing migrant and limited-English students, said Lauren Harvey, an assistant director at the Indiana Department of Education's Office of English Language Learning & Migrant Education

Elementary School Extends School Year for Struggling Readers

Colorado's Avon Elementary is trying something new this year — about a month of extra school for students falling behind in reading. Walk into a classroom, and you'll find a group of five kids huddled around a teacher with books in their hands, reading together and asking each other questions.

Study Finds Disparities in Teacher Qualifications

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing found nearly six-and-a-half percent of all California teachers were assigned to a class they were not qualified to teach. The majority of these assignments were in classrooms where English was a second language, affecting Latino students the most.

Voter Registration Drive Takes Multilingual Feel in Boston

Just outside the China Pearl restaurant in Chinatown, where roasted ducks dangled and pictures of bubble tea hung in the windows, Raymond Chow, 18, sat at a card table with a sign taped on it that read "Voter Registration Drive." The words repeated seven times in various scripts and languages — including Chinese. The City Council has supported a proposed law that would require that ballots be translated into Chinese and Vietnamese in all elections in the city, including state and federal elections, but the measure still requires legislative approval.

Companies Take Lead in Assimilation Efforts

Marriott International is currently offering thousands of foreign-born housekeepers, cooks, and maintenance workers its no-cost "Thirst for Knowledge" program, which helps employees learning English by simulating conversations in banks, hospitals, shops, and schools as well as in hotel kitchens and lobbies. Marriott is among several dozen major U.S. corporations spearheading a campaign to turn the divisive national debate about immigration in a more positive direction. Amid increasing public hostility to immigrants and intensifying efforts by local and federal authorities to crack down on illegal immigration, these business leaders hope to counter criticism that immigrants steal jobs and burden public services by highlighting the contributions they make to the U.S. economy and improving their ability to integrate.

Hispanic Population Soars in Northeastern Pennsylvania

New census estimates released Thursday show Northeast Pennsylvania's Hispanic population grew dramatically in 2007, spurred by a 20.5 percent surge in Luzerne County, the fastest rate in the state. Members of the region's Hispanic community say the latest figures portend a demographic shift that is already sending ripples through the area's social, cultural, and economic fabric.