ELL News Headlines

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Somali Refugee Abdi Nor Iftin: 'I Am Here To Make America Great'

What does it take to become an American? In 2015, This American Life told the story of a Somali refugee who was finally issued a visa to come and live in the United States. "This big smile was on my face. I've never had such a big smile," Abdi Nor Iftin said at the time. Iftin's long road to the US began when he was only a child in Mogadishu, watching American movies and teaching himself English, while brutality and war raged around him. In his new memoir, Call Me American, he tells his story from the beginning: with his nomadic parents and their now-unimaginably peaceful, pastoral life.

More Than 40 Percent of Afghan Kids Aren’t in School, Report Says

If you're a child living in Afghanistan, there's a better than 40 percent chance you're not in school. That's one of the damning items from a report that paints a bleak picture of the state of education in the war-torn country. According to the report, released Saturday by UNICEF, USAID, the think tank Samuel Hall and the Afghan government, 43.7 percent of Afghan children between the ages of 7 and 17 — 3.7 million kids — are not receiving schooling, despite education being a constitutional right in Afghanistan.

UCLA Students Tutor University Employees in English Language Skills and More

Norberta González and Martha Xuncax were dissolving into giggles, recalling the day a few months earlier that Xuncax was helping González with her English and grilling her in advance of her U.S. citizenship examination. Each year, Xuncax and scores of other students volunteer through UCLA's Project SPELL — for Students for Progress in Employee Language Learning — to teach English as a second language to UCLA employees. About 80 UCLA employees, many of whom work as custodians, housekeepers, groundskeepers or painters, are enrolled in the free, one-on-one tutoring.

At This School, Being "Different" Is an Asset

In Denver, there is a high school where more than one-third of the students were born outside the United States and where "being 'different' is an asset, and inclusion is the norm." That is part of the piece below that profiles Denver South High School, a winner in the 2017 "Schools of Opportunity" project, which recognizes public high schools that work to close opportunity gaps by creating learning environments that reach every student.

"Amal Unbound" by Aisha Saeed | SLJ Review

"Amal is an inquisitive young girl living with her family in a Punjabi village in rural Pakistan. Inspired by her favorite teacher, Amal dreams of becoming an educator. However, the tween has to stay home to run the household while her mother recovers from postpartum depression. Her ambitions fade away completely, though, after an accident involving the car of the wealthy Jawad Sahib, and she becomes a servant in Sahib's house to pay off her family's debts. Amal discovers the strength to overcome her harrowing circumstances, while making new friends and finding comfort in books and learning. What follows is Amal’s social awakening…A strong choice for all middle grade shelves, especially where readers are seeking stories about young girls in non-Western countries overcoming adversity."

ICE Releases Minors Caught In Ohio Raid and Some Workers "For Humanitarian Reasons"

After a raid on Tuesday that led to the arrest of 114 undocumented employees — rounded up by more than 100 immigration agents, using dogs and helicopters — at an Ohio landscaping company, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials reported some workers have been released for "humanitarian reasons." Meanwhile, immigrant rights advocates said minors and U.S.-born workers caught up in the sting were released after nearly 12 hours in detention. On Wednesday ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls told NPR, some of those who were picked up had been released for a variety of humanitarian reasons, "including health, or primary care for a minor child."

A Third of Students Need Eye Exams, Study Finds

Despite the spread of nearsightedness among U.S. schoolchildren, nearly 1 in 3 has not had a vision screening in at least two years, according to a new Education Week Research Center analysis of federal data, and research suggests several ways schools may help reduce children's risk of bad eyesight.

Can educators call ICE on students? Betsy DeVos Walks Back Controversial Remarks

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday walked back controversial remarks she made to Congress two weeks ago, clarifying in a Senate hearing that she does not think teachers and principals can report students to immigration authorities. On Tuesday, DeVos reversed course after a lengthy exchange with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) during a hearing of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. Murphy pressed DeVos to clarify her remarks five times before she definitively answered that she did not think that federal law allowed principals or teachers to call ICE on students.

Using Data to Decode English-Learner Education

A Washington-based think tank wants to provide a road map to help parents, policymakers, and the public better understand the ins-and-outs of English-language-learner education. The Migration Policy Institute's "A Guide to Finding and Understanding English Learner Data" explores what type of data that school systems, states, and the federal government collect on English-learners and how the information is used—and how it shouldn't be used.

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