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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'Where's My Story?' Reflecting All Students in Children's Literature

Teacher Kathleen Melville writes, "When I met my students on their first day of high school, most of them were not readers. They knew how to read, but they thought of reading as teacher-mandated drudgery. Some of their indifference to the written word could be attributed to the drill-and-test regimen common in urban elementary schools. After nine years as students in these schools, my students are very familiar with isolated 'passages' and multiple-choice comprehension questions and much less acquainted with books that inspire curiosity or reflect their experiences. But the problem extends beyond school policy and begins before kindergarten; the lack of children's literature that is representative of urban children, people of color, and the wide diversity of society is well-documented. And it means that most of my students have come to know books as largely irrelevant to their lives."

From the Archives: Remembering Cesar Chavez

March 31 is Cesar Chavez's birthday and a holiday in California, Colorado and Texas. The Los Angeles Times has republished his obituary along with photos of Chavez from the archives.

Lacking E.M.T.s, an Aging Maine Turns to Immigrants

Jolly Ntirumenyerwa ran her fingers over the stethoscope that she had slung around her neck. It was a comforting connection to her career as a physician in her home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she worked in emergency medicine. Now, thanks to an unusual program that is training immigrants to become emergency medical technicians, she is preparing to make better use of her medical background and, she hopes, work her way up to becoming a physician assistant if not, someday, a doctor. But the program goes beyond helping Ms. Ntirumenyerwa (pronounced t-roo-may-YAY-rwa) achieve her personal career goals. It is also helping to address some serious problems in Maine, including a shortage of E.M.T.s.

TESOL International Hires New Executive Director

Chris Powers will serve as the next executive director of TESOL International Association, the organization for teachers who specialize in working with English-learners. The Alexandria, Va.-based organization has 12,100 members and 115 affiliate organizations around the globe. Powers is the director of the Education Abroad Programs Division at the Washington-based Institute of International Education where he oversees efforts that support language education from kindergarten through graduate school in 37 countries.

Muslim Schoolchildren More Likely to Be Bullied by Fellow Students and Teachers Than Children of Other Faiths

Muslim children are more likely to be bullied in school than children of other faiths. A new survey by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) reveals that 42 percent of Muslims with children in K–12 schools report bullying of their children because of their faith, compared with 23 percent of Jewish and 20 percent of Protestant parents. These results confirm recent findings by other research and advocacy groups showing that bullying of students of color is on the rise.

Pennsylvania School District Oks Pact on Immigrant Students

A Pennsylvania school district reached a settlement Tuesday with the American Civil Liberties Union over what civil rights attorneys contend was a practice of denying older refugee and immigrant students a meaningful education by steering them to alternative high schools. The Lancaster School District's settlement was approved Tuesday night by the school board. The district said it ends a lawsuit filed by the ACLU in August. The ACLU said lawyers for the two sides must still finalize the pact.

What Some Colleges Are Quietly Doing to Help Undocumented Students

As on other campuses, students at the University of Utah have been calling for the school to declare itself a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, including those enrolled there. While the fate of undocumented students is still up in the air, and the effectiveness of promises at other universities to provide them sanctuary still untested, the attention to the issue in Utah and elsewhere has resulted in something much less widely noticed that could also have a big impact: Long-sought additional support is finally being added on campuses to help these students succeed in college.

Students Learn English as a Second Language Get Extra Help in Howard County

There's nothing traditional about this math classroom at Oakland Mills High School in Columbia. For starters, it has café-style seating, where students get to solve problems on their desktops. It seems evident, students are already sold on the makeover. This is also a classroom where teachers make the rounds assisting students where needed, and on their individual learning level and language.

Florida Board of Education Raises Concerns Over Services for English-Language Learners

Changes to federal law have the Florida Department of Education proposing several amendments to state rules for English-language learners, including one proposal that has many advocates up in arms. The recommendation to lower the proficiency level on Florida's annual assessment for ELL students has raised concerns that children could be labeled as not needing language services and then pushed out of the program before they are ready.

Kentwood Teachers Connect With Culturally Diverse Students

Bowen Elementary teacher Katie Lett artfully weaved a middle school field trip into a lesson on citing sources for her fifth grade English language learners to ensure optimal engagement. Gathered around the table for the small-group intervention were students eager to learn from several countries, including Bosnia, Tanzania and Myanmar.  Thirty-three percent of Bowen's 340 students are immigrants or refugees.