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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Berry Student Dedicates Extra Time to Library Language Program

Berry College sophomore Meredith Smith has been putting her college education to good use for the past two years as a volunteer with the Language and Literacy Center at the Rome-Floyd County Library. Smith got involved in the program through Berry, where she is currently pursuing degrees in psychology and Spanish. She said she sees her volunteering as an opportunity to help others and to also learn something about her future career — which is why her role in the classroom, one night a week, is to act as translator.

Texas School Graduates First Students from Bilingual Program

Learning the three R's in English and Spanish simultaneously did not come easy to Oscar Martinez at first. Martinez started participating in the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district's dual-language program when he was in kindergarten at Pharr Elementary School. Having learned only English at home, Martinez, now 18, found it difficult to understand some of his teachers who would give lessons in Spanish. By sixth grade, however, he could read, write and carry on conversations in his second language. But the most encouraging result for him was that he was finally able to have a conversation in Spanish with his grandfather.

College Has Lesser Degree of Certainty

For years, Americans considered a college education the stepping stone to a well-paying job and secure future. But that stepping stone may not be as rock-solid as it once was. Marketplace profiles how California State Long Beach students Hector Torres and Melvin Lopez are dealing with this shift.

Jill Biden to Promote Two-Year Colleges

President Barack Obama recently announced that he is asking Jill Biden to lead an effort to raise awareness about the nation's community colleges as part of efforts by the administration to make it easier for displaced workers to obtain more education and training. Obama explained Biden's new role as he detailed plans to overhaul the nation's unemployment system.

Many County Latino Teens In Crisis, Say Leaders, Survey

When Adolfo Avalos looks back at his teen years in Gaithersburg, MD, he can see how much went wrong. There were physical fights, school problems, gang involvement, anger at himself and the world: so much trouble that he finally dropped out. His experiences reflect what community leaders describe as a crisis for many Latino teenagers in Montgomery County, a suburb of Washington, DC.

Seattle Plans Overhaul of ELL Programs with Stimulus Funds

In her Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "Administrators in the Seattle public schools are apparently taking to heart findings in an audit last year that described the district's approach to serving English-language learners as 'ad hoc, incoherent, and directionless.' Veronica Gallardo, who has been the manager of programs for ELLs in the 44,000-student district since July, says the district is planning a major revamping of those programs for next school year."

It's English, but how do children perceive all those foreign accents?

With one in five people in the U.S. speaking a language other than English when they are at home, Tessa Bent's research into how children perceive so many different varieties of foreign-accented English has never been more timely. Recognizing the importance of understanding how children may or may not overcome foreign-accented speech variables, the National Institutes of Health has made Bent, an assistant professor in the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, one of the first IU faculty members to receive grant funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

APA Heritage Celebration Unites Students, Community

A recent Asian Pacific American Heritage Month event at the University of Illinois marked the first time that members of the University and the Champaign-Urbana community united to celebrate in APA Heritage in an effort organized by several campus and community groups. The celebration emphasized the diversity of the Asian Pacific American community, which is composed of over fifty distinct cultural groups around the United States, said Elana Schuster, graduate student in social work and intern at the Asian American Cultural Center.

Budget Woes May Dim a Bilingual Beacon

For more than 30 years, the Rafael Hernández School in Roxbury public school has taught science, math, and other subjects in Spanish and English, drawing students from across the city. But much of the city, including many children already enrolled at the Hernández, could be blocked from this multicultural experience a year from September. To save on busing costs, Superintendent Carol R. Johnson has proposed restricting access to the Hernández to only a few neighborhoods.

English-Only Laws Look Good to One Latina

This week on the Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "In her self-syndicated column, Esther J. Cepeda, a Latina, vents her frustration that more people in a graduate class she took on strategies for teaching English-language learners didn't share her distaste for bilingual education. Ms. Cepeda was a bilingual teacher in two Illinois school districts for a short stint and fought for Spanish-speaking students to be integrated into classes with native-English speakers and taught in English, according to a previous column she wrote."