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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Beyond Price, Other Barriers to College Loom

Only about a third of Chicago Public School students with aspirations to attain four-year degrees enroll in colleges matching their qualifications, with 62 percent of students attending colleges with selectivity levels "below the kinds of colleges they would have most likely been accepted to, given their level of qualifications," according to a new study from the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago.

Easing Language Barriers

Vilma Serpas moved from El Salvador to Maryland four years ago and still is learning English. So last week when she stopped by her son's school, she immediately sought out the school's bilingual family liaison, Monica Lopez. Ms. Serpas is one of a growing number of Spanish-speaking parents whose children are enrolled in the public schools. They are parents who would be lost without help from liaisons like Ms. Lopez. Like the county's 11 other bilingual liaisons, Ms. Lopez is their link to the tools they need to build a life here and to help their children excel in school.

Hispanic Demographics Will Impact Education in Florida

Florida is one of three Southern Regional Education Board states expected to see "explosive growth" of greater than 20 percent in the overall number of Hispanic high school graduates through 2022. According to a new report, a major increase in Hispanic students will significantly impact the SREB states as they work to raise high school and college graduation rates.

The University of Uncertainty

When Nelson Lopez applied to Virginia colleges this year, it never occurred to him that he might not be considered a state resident. After all, he has lived in the state since he was a baby, holds a voter registration card and will graduate this spring from an Alexandria high school. Then last month, he got an e-mail from the University of Virginia: If he wanted to be considered an in-state student, he had to prove that his parents are in this country legally. Lopez, 18, was born here — he's a U.S. citizen. But his parents are illegal immigrants. In the years since a huge wave of immigrants began pouring into the country, their U.S.-born children are graduating from high school and finding that citizenship may not be enough.

Officials: ESOL Enrollment Down in Northern Virginia's Prince William and Manassas Schools

School officials in three Northern Virginia area school districts have noticed a decline in enrollment of English for Speakers of Other Languages students since the beginning of the school year. Officials in Prince William county said it's too soon to know for certain what is causing the decline. But officials in Manassas and Manassas Park said economic factors such as changes in the housing and job markets appear to be driving ESOL students, many of whom are Hispanic, out of the area. The anti-illegal immigration resolution passed in Prince William County also appears to be driving some Hispanic families away, Manassas Park officials said.

Officials: ESOL Enrollment Up in Northern Virginia's Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax Schools

Three Northern Virginia school systems have noticed an unexpected influx of English-language learners coming from nearby Prince William County since the suburban jurisdiction launched its crackdown on illegal immigration. Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria public school officials have reported increased enrollment in their English to Speakers of Other Languages programs, while Prince William County announced an unprecedented drop of 630 students, or nearly 5 percent. Both illegal-immigration critics and immigrant advocates say the new policy directing officers to check the residency status of traffic violators and misdemeanor offenders has driven people from the community, but it remains unclear exactly where the hundreds of missing students went.

Commentary: A Teacher's Look at Proposed Cuts

In case you don't think teachers are worth the money Sacramento spends to educate our youth, read on about the students in my 7th-grade social studies class in Carlsbad. My contract is over at the end of the school year. As an outsider, I'm looking through a lens of objectivity while watching the state take a bite out of the education budget. During my career in education, I've learned some students are highly motivated and some are ready to quit. But teachers don't teach information, they teach kids … you could ask an English language learner I'll call Pablo, who missed weeks of school … But then something clicked after Career Day — hope had arrived! Pablo came bounding into the room announcing, "I'm going to be an engineer!"

Illinois School District Tests Spanish Voice-Mail Systems

New Spanish voice-mail systems will help dozens of Hispanic residents communicate with their children's school officials, an administrator from a Chicago-area school district said. The pilot program is being paid for by a $1,000 grant for English as a second language instruction and offers Spanish-speaking parents the option of leaving a voice message, after which a Spanish teacher or bilingual education teacher will return calls within two school days.

ESL Camp Helping Immigrant Kids

Tariq Mohammadpur would put an electrical monster in his desert island treasure chest. That monster, he wrote, would have thousands of dollars. Tariq was born in Pakistan, and has lived in Canada since the age of one; he's spending this March Break at a pilot project ESL kids camp that uses exercises like the treasure chest to help improve his English. The free four-day camp is put on by the Upper Canada District School Board in partnership with the Cornwall and District Immigrant Services Agency. Most of the children are from countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, or Afghanistan, and as part of the camp, they learn about flags from all over the world, with an emphasis on Canadian geography.

Hispanic Input Urged on State Curriculum

The House Mexican American Legislative Caucus is insisting that Texas' State Board of Education include Hispanics in the writing of a new English language arts and reading curriculum for the state. The State Board of Education should not change the curriculum until the board's subcommittee is expanded to include a border representative and until it considers expert advice from researchers familiar "with the challenges of language minority groups," Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, said in a letter to board Chairman Don McLeroy of Bryan. The four-member subcommittee overseeing the curriculum rewrite currently has no Hispanic member even though a majority of the state's 4.7 million children attending public schools are minority, and Hispanics currently make up 47 percent of the state's school enrollment.