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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Tracy K. Smith, New U.S. Poet Laureate, Calls Poems Her 'Anchor'

Tracy K. Smith knows many readers are intimidated by line breaks. She knows people don't like identifying consonance, assonance or alliteration. But Smith — the newly announced 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry of the United States — wants to help America push past that anxiety.

Unpaid internships: They’re not for everyone

Maria Rodriguez is president and cofounder of Vanguard Communications. In this op-ed, she writes, "As a first-generation American, I know how difficult it is for Latino students to pursue unpaid internships. Some of these students are the first in their families to go to school; they do not have a network of mentors advising them on academics or introducing them to people in influential positions. The notion of unpaid work leading to a career with upward mobility can be foreign to a Latino father or mother who regards work as a series of paid jobs that help ends meet. Their perspective may be that getting by today is more important than preparing to get by in the future."

Poor Students Face Digital Divide in How Teachers Learn to Use Tech

Over the past decade, the "digital divide" in America's public schools has shifted. Classrooms in nearly every corner of the country have been flooded with devices and software. High-speed internet connectivity has expanded dramatically. Yet teachers in high-poverty schools are consistently less likely than their counterparts to say they've received technology-integration training, the Education Week Research Center analysis found. The gap isn't getting any smaller.

Santa Cruz Offers Support for Rising Salvadoran Student Refugee Population

Santa Cruz City Schools was not prepared for the influx of Salvadoran children it faced this year, officials say. Beginning in the fall, the school districts saw an unexpected surge in Salvadoran students arrive at its doors, trailing traumatic experiences like heavy luggage. Nereida Robles, a social worker for the middle and high school district, said she sees Salvadorans as the most vulnerable among the newcomer population, who have spent less than a year in U.S. schools. In addition to changes in culture, language and education systems, many of the Salvadoran students have faced additional difficulties such as a gap in their schooling and a history with gang-related violence.

Bilingual Preschool Program Aids Charleston County Families

Charleston County's Spanish-speaking families are gleaning multiple benefits from Abrazos, the free literacy program housed in a local elementary school providing children with preschool activities while educating their parents in English as a second language.

Education Commissioner Wentzell: 'Our English learners need more support'

Dianna Wentzell, Connecticut's education commissioner, speaks four languages – English, French, Russian and Spanish – and oversaw English learner programs in a number of Connecticut school districts before coming to the state Department of Education. She was never in an English-learning program herself, but her decades of experience as an administrator, curriculum director and teacher have helped shape her feelings about what needs to be done to close Connecticut’s yawning achievement gap between English learners and their peers.

School Officials Help Families of Iraqi Christians Targeted in Metro Detroit ICE Raids

Advocates who say dozens of Iraqi Christians were targeted in immigration sweeps Sunday – outside churches and restaurants in metro Detroit – fear they'll be killed if returned to their home country.  "These people have been declared victims of genocide by both the Obama administration and the current administration," said Nathan Kalasho, who runs a Madison Heights charter school with 70% of students from immigrant families and is helping to connect people affected by the raids with legal services, interpreters and aid.

Want to teach science, bilingual ed or special ed? California may soon have a scholarship for you

California public schools are facing a shortage of teachers — specifically, a shortage of teachers qualified to teach math, science, bilingual or special education. So state lawmakers are considering making an offer to prospective teachers: commit to teach in these high-need subjects and we'll take a bite out of your tuition costs. Members of the California Assembly recently approved the creation of a grant program that would offer $20,000 scholarships to prospective teachers who promise to teach science, technology, engineering, math, bilingual education or special education in a public school for four years.

Civil Rights Groups Take New Mexico to Court in Fight Over Equitable Education

Two civil rights groups want a New Mexico judge to rule that the state's education system is failing to meet its constitutional responsibilities for groups of students, including English-language learners, Native Americans, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities. A nine-week trial begins Monday—and lawyers for the plaintiffs say the case could have ramifications well beyond the state's borders.  That's because the lawyers for the parents and school districts says the state not only underfunds public schools, but essentially ignores the state's "longstanding bilingual and multicultural history."

English Learners: Other Places Are Showing What Works

Dual-language programs place English learners and native-English speakers together in the same classroom and offers instruction in each group's language for part of the school day. School districts across the country that have committed to reaping the benefits of dual-language instruction have found ways to make big gains in the face of obstacles, both perceived and real.  As Jacqueline Rabe Thomas finishes her series on Connecticut's English language learners, she looks at some other dual-language programs around the country and examines the opportunities and challenges for expanding dual-language programming in Connecticut.