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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Book Review: Stories for Kids About Heroic Young Refugees

New York Times book reviewer Elizabeth Wein writes, "Last year, during a visit to a school in Birmingham, England, I met a seventh grader who told me he had traveled there from Syria as a refugee. I wasn't equal to imagining what that journey was like. Yet here was this rosy-cheeked boy in a British school uniform, clearly a survivor, sitting in on my author event along with 150 other interested students. I tried to respond. 'You must be …' Brave? Resourceful? Determined? I struggled for an appropriate word. The boy filled in the gap himself. 'Unstoppable!' he pronounced triumphantly. And 'unstoppable' is the word that best fits the fictional children in three timely, poignant and sometimes tragic new novels describing the current global refugee crisis."

How the War in Yemen Became a Bloody Stalemate — And the Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World

Robert Worth is a New York Times journalist who has visited Yemen many times during his reporting career. After his last visit in August, he writes in this in-depth piece, "The ongoing war in Yemen has turned much of the country into a wasteland and has killed at least 10,000 civilians, mostly in errant airstrikes. The real number is probably much higher, but verifying casualties in Yemen’s remote areas is extremely difficult. Some 14 million people are facing starvation, in what the United Nations has said could soon become the worst famine seen in the world in 100 years. Disease is rampant, including the world’s worst modern outbreak of cholera."

Talking Politics with Students After Election Day

Are all politics local? The adage fits here in Michael Siraguse's two AP Government classes, where students are peppering their teacher with post-midterm questions about the city council race. The discussion about elections is not just part of the classroom curriculum – in the past year, Siraguse has helped register about 1,000 of his students to vote. One first-time voter, Jaime Trejo-Angeles, credits his teacher's instruction with increasing student engagement around voting. "He really drives the point home and gets really into detail and depth, where other teachers just read from the textbook," Trejo-Angeles says. When asked how voting for the first time felt, Trejo-Angeles reports, "I had a sense of adrenaline just walking into there."

Dozens of Teachers Were Elected to State Office. Many More Fell Short

In the first big election since teachers across the country walked out of their classrooms this spring, dozens of current teachers claimed state legislative seats — joining the policymaking bodies that greatly influence pay and funding for schools. While 42 teachers won, nearly 80 teachers — or two-thirds of those on the ballot — lost their legislative bids in Tuesday’s midterm elections, according to an Education Week analysis. Still, educators remain hopeful that the tide is turning — that after the series of teacher walkouts that swept the country, voters are paying more attention to education. (Note: An Illinois legislature race that includes a bilingual teacher as one of the candidates is currently separated by a single vote.)

New State Award Recognizes Maine Students' Bilingual Proficiency

Students across Maine can now be recognized for being proficient in multiple languages as part of a new initiative from the state's Department of Education. The agency announced Monday that beginning in May, it will offer a new award, called the Seal of Biliteracy, that will be featured on student transcripts. To earn the seal, students will need to show proficiency in English and another language.

Immigrant Students Find Hope in Soccer, But Some States Won't Let Them Play

When a group of Central American teenagers at a New Orleans charter school wanted a soccer team, it looked like the teenagers would have to do without the advantages sports participation could bring: The nonprofit that governs Louisiana's high school sports won't allow most of the Central American students to play. The Louisiana High School Athletic Association requires all student-athletes to present some proof of age — a birth certificate or official immigration papers — along with a social security number. Though some of the Central American students are in the country legally or have temporary visas, most do not have the required documents. Frustrated, Cohen teachers and administrators decided this fall to try something different. They started an unsanctioned team.