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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Giving 'Gift of Language' Earns Teacher Prestigious Award

She was just eight years old when she first started helping recent immigrants — in this case, her parents — adjust to a new language and culture. But Frances Martino-Souilliere went on to make assisting new Canadians, especially in terms of learning English, her life's work. Last week, Martino-Souilliere was one of 10 Ontarians named by the McGuinty government as Newcomer Champions. The award, created in 2007, recognizes Ontarians who help promote cultural understanding and diversity or help newcomers settle in this country.

Undocumented Students Have a Degree of Anxiety

He took 15 AP classes in high school, and kicks himself for passing up two others. Now, he is graduating from UCLA, with a double major in English and Chicano Studies and a B-plus grade point average. But for all his success, Miguel does not share the full-bodied exuberance of his fellow graduating seniors. A native of Puebla, Mexico, he is an illegal immigrant. As Miguel looks to an uncertain future, he and other undocumented students find themselves caught between contradictory U.S. immigration policies.

Editorial: Focus on School Reform

Say what you will about the Rev. Al Sharpton, it is hard to ignore — or deter — him. And that is good news for those interested in fixing the nation's troubled public schools. In giving his voice to school reform as a true civil rights issue, Mr. Sharpton may help change the nature of the debate. Equally significant is his willingness and that of other leaders in a recently formed coalition to challenge traditional allies in the cause of black and brown children … How can America boast of equal opportunity when so many black and Latino children are denied a good education?

Texas School District to Offer Stipends to Bilingual, Math Teachers

Texas' Huntsville Independent School District is currently offering $3,000 stipends to applicants for teaching positions as either secondary math teachers or elementary bilingual teachers. According to HISD Superintendent Richard Montgomery, the goal of offering the stipends is to attract quality instructors to the district in those specific categories and, hopefully, to keep them employed in following years.

Students Learning English Are Isolated in Poor Schools, Study Finds

Gaps in test scores narrow when students who have not mastered English are not isolated in low-achieving schools, according to a new report from the Pew Center for English-Language learning. The report released June 26 noted that students designated as English language learners (ELLs) tend to go to public schools with low standardized test scores — schools where other groups are also struggling. These schools generally have high student-teacher ratios, high student enrollments, and high student poverty rates, the report said.

Report: ELL Students Struggle with Math After Third Grade

A report released last week indicated test scores have dropped sharply for Texas English Language Learner students in third through eighth grades. "The Role of Schools in the English Language Learner Achievement Gap" report relied upon data from the National Longitudinal School-Level State Assessment Score Database and was compiled by the Pew Hispanic Center, a leader in nonpartisan research on the nation's Hispanic population. The report's most significant finding in Texas was a significant drop in ELL scores between middle school and high school. Seventy-two percent of ELL students were proficient or higher in math in the third grade, but by eighth grade the proficiency plummeted to 22 percent.

Italian American Groups Speak Up to Save AP Language Test

For those who teach Italian in U.S. schools, the advent of an Advanced Placement course in Italian language and culture three years ago was an epochal event, securing a future for the subject alongside Spanish and French and staving off competition from fast-growing programs in Japanese and Chinese. The prospect that AP Italian might be eliminated has set off a reaction that might seem surprising, considering that 2,000 students took the Italian AP exam this year. Prominent Italian American groups and Matilda Cuomo, wife of former New York governor Mario Cuomo, have mobilized to save the course.

Law Students Rush to Meet Needs In Booming Field of Immigration

Immigration law, a subject that three decades ago was a secondary, technical field delegated to adjunct professors, is booming at law schools nationwide. Elective immigration law courses taught by tenured specialists are filling lecture halls, immigration clinics are expanding, and student groups devoted to the subject are mushrooming.

Comprehensive Statewide Report Leaves Out Immigrant Children

A "comprehensive" plan on the future of public education in the state does not address the plight of immigrant students in Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick's comprehensive education reform failed to set specific goals towards a growing section of the state's student population — English Language Learners.

Asian Immigrants' Gains Redefine the Racial Divide in Minnesota Test Results

For years, people have bemoaned Minnesota's disturbing achievement gap between white students and students of color, but a new trend is emerging. During the past two decades, Asian students in Minnesota overwhelmingly have been Hmong children whose test results have been similar to other students of color. Recently, however, Asian students have made gains on statewide tests, and their results are more closely mirroring those of their white peers, particularly in math.