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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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 … 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>."

Most Struggling Texas Kids Are Veterans of U.S. Classrooms

Educators often point out the obstacles new immigrants face in graduating on time. But they aren't the only kids learning English who are struggling to graduate. Statewide, about 60 percent of high school students classified as having limited English proficiency — called LEP in education circles — have been in U.S. schools five years or more, according to a <em>Dallas Morning News</em> analysis of state test data.

Editorial: Latinos' Educational Progress Affects All Texans

We don't doubt that this week's reading of <em>The Dallas Morning News</em> will cause some North Texans to throw down their newspapers in anger. The front-page stories that start today about the struggle Latino children have in progressing through the Dallas school district will lead many readers straight back to the immigration debate &#133; The real issue is how schools in Dallas and across Texas educate so many Hispanic children, whether they are first-, second- or third-generation Latinos. This responsibility starts with Latino families ensuring that their children show up at school, master their classes and ultimately succeed. But this complicated task is important to all Texans because the state's future is wrapped up with its fast-growing Latino population.

Proposed ELL Guidelines Too Rigid, Critics Warn

Education officials in several states with large English-language-learner populations are bristling at a proposal by the U.S. Department of Education that they say would curb their flexibility in deciding when children are fluent in English and if they still need special services for ELLs.

Closing the Culture Gap Can Help Latino Students Learn, Professor Says

With the increase in the nation's Hispanic population, policymakers must address the "opportunity gap" as an education challenge, says Dr. Pedro A. Noguera, a professor at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University.

Immersion Conversion

A long-nurtured dream among the staff at Eugene, Oregon's 310-student River Road/El Camino del Rio Elementary School seems likely to come true by fall 2009. The Eugene School Board on Wednesday is expected to endorse planning for Lane County's first two-way Spanish/English language immersion program, to be housed at River Road. The program would offer instruction in both languages to all students, with core subjects — reading, math, social studies and science — taught half the day in English, half in Spanish. It would probably begin as kindergarten-only, expanding as students ascend to the next grade level.

Education Issues Weigh on Tribal Voters in South Dakota, Montana

With sizeable populations in the last two states to vote in the Democratic primary, Native American voters emerged as a highly sought-after voting bloc ahead of yesterday's voting in Montana and South Dakota. Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton courted the Native vote and their pitches both revolve around improving the educational systems in Indian country. But for many within the Indian community, their concerns reach beyond these top-line policy goals, focusing instead on how standardized tests and uniform curriculum could undercut traditional teachings and native language learning.

Even Start Offers Literacy Help

Maxima Valdez wanted to help her daughters with their homework. Balbina Vasquez signed up to be able to speak with doctors and her four children's teachers. The Spanish-speaking mothers and others like them find assistance through the Even Start Family Literacy Program, a state-funded program run by Reading Area Community College.Even Start's goal is to make parents self-sufficient and prepare children from low-income city families for kindergarten in the Reading School District, said Janet G. Sands, program coordinator.