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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Canadian School Offers Program as Introduction to Chinese

Giggling and joking pops up during the lesson as young students try to remember how to say each Chinese number. But all the after-school energy is reigned in when Faith Tsou steps and turns, moving a flowing, fan-like wave around her as she displays a traditional Chinese dance. Canada's Woodbury Elementary School launched an eight-week after-school Chinese club this semester. The club was created after parents who adopted Chinese children asked if there was a way to introduce the culture to both the adopted children and their siblings.

Quorum: What Will Globalization Do to Languages?

The headline says it all, although the unspoken question is: will globalization indeed result in the hegemony of English, as has long been promised/threatened? The New York Times Freakonomics blog asked some experts to consider the question.

"Ordinary" and Muslim

"It's hard to be perceived as 'ordinary' and Muslim at the same time in post-9/11 America," write several teachers in the introduction to a book that relays personal narratives of Muslim high schoolers living in New York City. The book, <em>This is Where I Need to Be: Oral Histories of Muslim Youth in NYC</em>, is a collection of stories based on interviews of Muslim teenagers that were conducted by Muslim youth.

Letter: Latino Students Are a Credit to This Community

In this letter to the editor, Maureen Anderson, migrant education coordinator for North Carolina's Buncombe County Schools, writes "I would like to commend Gov. Easley for supporting our students in North Carolina who are living in our state but are without proper immigration documents &#133; Even as the North Carolina attorney general was declaring that many of these students are not welcome at our public universities, 20 Latino students, including five graduating seniors, were volunteering at MANNA FoodBank in Asheville, giving back to their community."

Hearing from Undocumented Schoolchildren

Some of the undocumented teenagers attending the Postville Community School District in Iowa talked last week with an Iowa reporter about how an immigration raid at a meatpacking plant in their community has made it seem unlikely that they'll be able to go to college and have a career in this country. A 16-year-old who came to the United States with his family two years ago said he wants to study mechanical engineering, but since his 17-year-old sister was detained in the May 12 immigration raid, his family is talking about going back to Mexico.

Divided Texas Board Approves New Language Arts Standards

After more than two years of behind-the-scenes cajoling, public bickering, charges, and countercharges, the bitterly divided State Board of Education settled Friday on new English and reading curriculum standards for the state's 4.6 million schoolchildren. The result is a patchwork document, with pieces pulled from a plan adopted by the board Thursday, plus segments submitted by teacher work groups. Many board members complained that even after the drawn-out process, the latest document was sprung on them Friday with almost no notice.

Keeping Kids Busy

It's a Wednesday afternoon in mid-May at Homecroft Elementary in St. Paul, MN, and Marta Kifle is leading an after-school tutoring group she founded called the Ethiopian Educational Center. She's not a teacher — she's a parent who has volunteered at the school in the city's southwest corner for more than 10 years. The sessions, which last more than two hours, offer students a snack, some physical activity, homework assistance, and instruction in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, Kifle's native country. Kifle estimates she has served about 40 students. Most have some family connection to Ethiopia, though her program is open to everyone.

Sticking With It: Lily's Story

Seventeen-year-old Lily Mejia didn't speak any English when she began the seventh grade at Scenic Middle School in Central Point, OR. Nearly six years later, Lily is poised to graduate June 4 from Crater High School's Academy of Business Innovation & Science in the top 5 percent of her class and with a 4.0 GPA. Lily's father and mother, Refugio and Petra Mejia, never advanced past the second and third grades in Mexico. Their dream to see their children complete high school drove them to immigrate to the United States, where one son and one daughter have already done so. Lily will be their third child to graduate from high school and the first in her family to go to college.

Educators Oppose English Standards OK'd by State

The preliminary approval of new English and reading curriculum that will set guidelines for textbooks and standardized tests for the next 10 years was met with anger and frustration by many Texas teachers on Thursday. If given final approval, the curriculum will remain in effect for the next decade and set standards for state tests and textbooks.

About to Burst at Seams, St. Louis School District Consider Options

Attracted by relatively low housing costs, working-class immigrants have flocked to St. Louis' Bayless School District. Today, nearly 40 percent of the district's students — double the number of just four years ago — are English-language learners. Between now and the end of the next decade, Bayless projects a gain of one-third over its current enrollment.