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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Look Who's Listening: New Study Shows That Babies Can Be Bilingual Starting Before Birth

Earlier this summer, a study out of the University of Kansas looked at how babies received different languages in the womb, learning that, in utero, babies are attuned to the rhythm of their dominant language and mentally switch gears when they hear a foreign tongue. At the time, we hypothesized that, if they have such capabilities within the womb, babies could very well be prepared to handle two languages once they're out of it. That hypothesis has turned out to be quite true, as new research shows that bilingual babies are more than capable to process the languages their environments contain.

Cornell Puerto Rican Student Association Leading Local Hurricane Relief Effort

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rican students wait in Ithaca for news of home. Cornell Puerto Rican Student Association's secretary Julia Pagán Andréu ’19, who calls San Juan home, was eager to hear news from her family — including her mother, father, sister, cousin and grandparents — who waited out last week's storm. "I'm just lucky that I've been able to get in touch with them,” she said. "I've seen my friends posting on Facebook asking for help in making sure their parents and loved ones are okay. So many people haven’t heard anything."

English-Only States and Native Language Assessment Under ESSA

The passage of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December of 2015 was welcomed by many advocates and leaders as a huge step toward equitable education for English learners (ELs). These new benefits for ELs under ESSA include expanded requirements in reporting EL data, the possibility of increased funding for EL programs, and more nuanced school rating systems that take into account the English proficiency of students.

Hurricane Maria Could Send Wave of Puerto Rican Students to Miami

When Hurricane Irma sideswiped Puerto Rico in early September, the storm knocked out power to about 600 schools and left 400 with no running water. As Hurricane Maria approached the island this week, 20 schools had yet to reopen. Now, with power knocked out for the entire island, roads impassable and widespread flooding, it could be weeks — or even months — before some of Puerto Rico's 350,000 students are able to return to their local school. The Miami-Dade school district is preparing for an influx of displaced students — either kids sent to live with relatives or entire families fleeing the island, at least temporarily.

Civil Rights Milestone: 'Little Rock 9' At 60

Monday marks the 60th anniversary of the controversial and historic desegregation of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. Some are celebrating the milestone. Others say more progress is needed.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor Aims to Expand Scope of Civics Education Efforts

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, speaking as the keynoter at a forum on civics education Thursday, stressed the importance of engaging young people of various backgrounds on the topic. "For me, civic education is the key to inspiring kids to want to become and stay involved in making a difference," Sotomayor told the Democracy at a Crossroads National Summit, a daylong event that drew scores of students, educators, policymakers, and others to the Newseum here.

How to Help Mexico and Puerto Rico

Mexico and Puerto Rico are still in shock after being hit by devastating natural disasters earlier this week. The following organizations posted by Latino USA have received four-star ratings from Charity Navigator, a watchdog organization that vets charitable organizations. Most of these groups also allow you to a specific disaster relief cause, and offer their forms in English.

Where have all the teachers gone?

Where are all the teachers? That's what education expert Linda Darling-Hammond asks and answers in this post about the teacher shortage in many parts of the United States — and what can be done to finally end it. While teacher shortages are not new, they are getting worse in many parts of the country. A report by the nonprofit Learning Policy Institute found that teacher education enrollment dropped from 691,000 to 451,000, a 35 percent reduction, between 2009 and 2014 — and nearly 8 percent of the teaching workforce is leaving every year, the majority before retirement age.

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