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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From Scotland: 3500 Pupils Can't Speak English

Scottish teachers are having to cope with unprecedented numbers of pupils who have difficulty speaking English following a sharp increase in immigrants and asylum seekers. The Scottish Government is facing urgent calls to provide more funding to train language support specialists after new figures showed the number of pupils not fluent in English rose by 62.5% between 2006 and 2007. The most significant numbers of new immigrants come from Poland, with Polish now the second most commonly spoken language after English in 16 local authority areas. Punjabi, Urdu, Cantonese, and Arabic are also common.

Appeals Court Upholds Judge's Order on ELL Deadline for Arizona

A federal appeals panel ruled Friday that English-language instruction law is so flawed that it "may well retard or reverse whatever progress has been" made in the instruction of more than 134,000 Arizona children who are struggling to learn English. However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said two changes in the measure could bring Arizona's long-running dispute over English-language instruction to a conclusion.

Boca High Teacher Publishes Book to Increase Literary Skills of English Language Learners

Ines Mevs has a soft spot for struggling students — especially those with a language barrier. So it comes as no surprise that she is an English teacher for ELL students. Mevs, a teacher in Florida's Boca Raton Community High School, has gone a step further, though, and recently wrote a workbook to help her students develop literary skills. Her book is titled <i>Think Write Book: A Sentence Combining Workbook for ELL Students</i>, and guides students through grammar, usage, and the conventions of writing. Mevs has also published a teacher edition of the book featuring the research base for her instruction strategies.

Hispanics Making Impact in Tennessee

When Juana Francisco started kindergarten at Lonsdale Elementary, she spoke only a few words of English. She was one of two or three Latinos at her school. Last August, half of the school's kindergartners were from Guatemalan or Mexican families, according to the principal. Tennessee has one of the fastest-growing Hispanic or Latino populations in the nation, right behind Arkansas, North Carolina and Georgia, and the number of international students in Knox County Schools has doubled in the past decade, to roughly 2,000. While all international students aren't all Latino, they account for about 60 percent of those in English as a Second Language classes in the district.

Querer Es Poder: To Desire Is to Achieve

A traveling photo exhibit called "<em>Querer Es Poder</em>: 50 Examples" is being promoted to help motivate more students to pursue a higher education as part of California State University at Fullerton's 50th anniversary celebration. <em>Querer es poder</em>, which is Spanish for "if you desire it, you can achieve," is the message being sent out by the exhibit, which features 50 successful Latinos who have graduated from CSUF.

Board Learns About Program That Will Provide Help to Failing Students

Representatives from Colorado's Mesa County Valley School District are sharing their strategies for a challenge facing many of the state's school districts: How to graduate more of its Hispanic students. A program providing extra support in the form of a liaison to the students most at risk of dropping out of school, as well as their families, was implemented four years ago in the district, and now serves as a model for other districts around the state.

Study: NCLB's Accountability Requirement Feeds Drop-out Rates

Here's a new and significant research finding that won't surprise many of No Child Left Behind's (NCLB) school-based critics: high-stakes, test-based accountability — exactly what the law promotes — has a direct, negative impact on graduation rates. That result, from a new study out of Rice University in Houston and the University of Texas-Austin, flies in the face of NCLB's aim: to improve schools and create more equitable educational success for minorities. Indeed, each year 135,000 students leave Texas public high schools ahead of graduation, and a disproportionate number are African American, Latino, and English as a Second Language (ESL) learners.

A California High School Gets Out of "Program Improvement"

Larry Ferlazzo, who teaches English-language learners at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, CA, testified on his blog this week that it's possible for a high school with lots of English-language learners to make it out of "program improvement" status under the No Child Left Behind Act.

English-Only Rule on Bus Relaxed

State and national civil liberties advocates have compelled a rural Nevada school district to roll back a policy prohibiting high school students from speaking Spanish on the bus. The guideline was approved at an October school board meeting and affected about a dozen children from Hispanic families who ride a school bus more than an hour each way between Dyer, in Esmeralda County, and Tonopah High School, over the Nye County line. Most of the Hispanic children are from immigrant families drawn to the area to work its cattle ranches and alfalfa farms.

Academy Will Teach Children How to Attend School

Tennessee's Metro Schools celebrated the opening of the district's new ELL, or English Language Learners, center Thursday. Part of the expanded center is an academy aimed at teaching a select group of immigrant children, many of whom who have never seen a classroom before, how to attend school. Judy Edwards, teacher, said, "Most of our children came straight from refugee camps where there was just no educational experience whatsoever."