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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Democrats Offer Plans to Revamp Schools Law

Democrats are dividing into camps as they debate a new course for education policy after President Bush leaves office. Last week, one group said the United States' public schools shortchanged poor black and Latino children in a way that was "shameful," and urged Washington to squeeze teachers and administrators harder to raise achievement among minorities. A second group of about 60 prominent educators and academics issued another manifesto, which criticized the federal No Child Left Behind law and argued that schools alone could not close a racial achievement gap rooted in economic inequality. They urged a new emphasis on health clinics and other antipoverty programs that could help poor students arrive at school ready to learn.

Arlington, VA Schools Candidacy Captures Latino Imagination

In Bolivia last month on business, Diego Arias of Virginia's Arlington County picked up a newspaper and stopped at a familiar face. Prominently placed on the third page, in a section separating winners from losers, was a photograph of Emma Violand-Sanchez. Somehow the landlocked South American nation that Violand-Sanchez left as a teenager more than four decades ago not only knew about her victory in a party caucus to endorse Arlington School Board candidates but also considered the development newsworthy. The Democratic caucus, held last month to make endorsements for two School Board seats at stake in the fall election, had a record turnout, and Violand-Sanchez received more votes than the five other candidates, including an incumbent, who placed second.

A Children's Book, Written in English and Hmong

Teachers who work with English-language learners in Sacramento, Calif., in St. Paul, Minn., and in other communities with many Hmong immigrants are usually familiar with "story cloths." On a large piece of fabric, the Hmong embroider scenes that tell the stories of their people. A new children's book, <em>Grandfather's Story Cloth</em>, published by Shen's Books, tells how a Hmong boy, Chersheng, uses a story cloth once made by his grandfather to help the old man to recall memories that are quickly slipping away. The story is written by Linda Gerdner, a nurse, and Sarah Langford, a nursing student, and is illustrated by Stuart Loughridge.

Report Takes Aim at 'Model Minority' Stereotype of Asian-American Students

The image of Asian-Americans as a homogeneous group of high achievers taking over the campuses of the nation's most selective colleges came under assault in a report issued Monday. The report, by New York University, the College Board and a commission of mostly Asian-American educators and community leaders, largely avoids the debates over both affirmative action and the heavy representation of Asian-Americans at the most selective colleges.

Child-Poverty Jump in Colorado Leads Nation

Almost twice as many Colorado children are living in poverty as in 2000, making the state's population of impoverished kids the fastest growing in the nation, according to a Colorado Children's Campaign report to be released today. Roughly 180,000 of the state's children — infants through high schoolers — lived in poverty in 2006, according to the report. That is a 73 percent increase since 2000, researchers concluded by using census and community survey data for the annual statistical review, KidsCount. It is, by far, the largest jump in the nation. Second to Colorado is New Hampshire, which saw about a 50 percent increase over the same period.

A Year in the Lives of New Immigrants

A big challenge facing North Texas' public schools is immigration — particularly teens from rural Mexico. Most speak scant English, some had interrupted schooling back home and some want to work. Often, they are here illegally. Still, the courts say schools must educate them. Since DFW has become one of America's new arrival capitals, the entire region shares an interest in their success. The News followed about 60 new immigrants and their teachers at DISD's Adamson High last school year, and met with many families, to learn about their challenges at school and home.

2008 Public School Enrollment in U.S. Expected To Set Record

Public school enrollment across the country will hit a record high this year with just under 50 million students, and the student population is becoming more diverse in large part because of growth in the Latino population, according to a new federal report.

Commentary: A Legacy of Reading Achievement

In this discussion of his district's efforts to improve reading scores, John Heim, Superintendent of Schools in Emporia, KS, writes "Our journey to ensure that all children can read on grade level has required a significant investment of time, personnel, and money. The scores of Emporia children taking Kansas Reading Assessments clearly show the investment has paid off handsomely &#133; When one considers the demographic changes in Emporia the past seven years, the results are even more impressive. In 2003, less than one-third of our English Language Learners (ELL) scored at proficient or above on the Reading Assessment. Five years later, 72 percent of ELL students are proficient or above on the test. That is a 60 percent gain by a group of children whose first language is not English."

Bilingual Reading Instruction: What the Research Does and Doesn't Say

Research shows that bilingual reading instruction helps English-language learners to read in English, but it isn't conclusive in telling educators how long students should receive such instruction, according to Claude Goldenberg, an education professor at Stanford University, who has written an article about research on ELLs soon to be published in the <em>American Educator</em>, the magazine of the American Federation of Teachers.In "Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does — and Does Not — Say," Mr. Goldenberg explains (for the most part, in plain English) what guidance can and can't be gleaned from research on ELLs.

Legalization or Detention?

In this entry from <em>Education Week</em>'s "Learning the Language" blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "I couldn't help noticing that the impact on children of a program in Spain that legalized 600,000 African, Latin American, and eastern European workers, which is the subject of an article published today in <em>The New York Times</em>, contrasts sharply with the effects on children in the United States of their parents' detention described in a June 8 article in the <em>Los Angeles Times</em>."