ELL News Headlines

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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."

Learning the ABCs in Arabic

It is easy to overlook the maroon building on Beach Park Boulevard in Foster City. But if one listens closely to the breeze as it meanders across the nearby promenade, it is possible to hear voices singing in Arabic, and only then is it clear that those who are seeking the Muslim Children's Garden have found the right place. Every weekday, some 30 children from throughout the Bay Area gather here to attend pre-school and kindergarten at the only Islamic school in San Mateo County.

Economy Spurs Demand for Literacy Programs

Since the recession began in December 2007, more than 5 million jobs have been lost. Callers are inundating literacy agencies because they realize they can't compete in this difficult job market without a GED. At the same time, many of those callers are forced to recognize and admit their inability to read simple documents, including a job application.

Why Do Millions of Americans Struggle with Reading And Writing?

For the first time, a detailed portrait of America's least literate adults is emerging. About 30 million people — 14 percent of the US population 16 and older — have trouble with basic reading and writing. Correlating factors that were explored in a new government report include poverty, ethnicity, native language background, and disabilities.

Adult ESL Courses Declining, Study Says

After 20 years of sporadic English classes, Esperanza Marrufo still stumbles over the language, exasperated when unable to find the right word. "Part of my problem is…I can't express myself!" said Marrufo, 43, in her native Spanish. "I want to keep practicing so I can enter fully into American society." Though that desire is shared by thousands of immigrants — even as critics often chastise them for not integrating quickly enough — opportunities to learn English are harder to come by in Illinois, according to a study released Monday.

Racism Hurts Kids' Mental Health

Fifth-graders who feel they've been mistreated because of their skin color are much more likely than classmates without such feelings to have symptoms of mental disorders, especially depression, a study suggests. There is evidence that racial discrimination increases the odds that adolescents and adults will develop mental health problems, but this is the first study to examine a possible link in children of varied races, says Tumaini Coker, the study co-author and a RAND Corp. researcher and UCLA pediatrician.

All in the Family: Program Teaches English to Kids and Their Parents

A new program in Minnesota is aimed at teaching both children, and their parents, English. District 112 in Carver County had pieces of its Family Literacy program in place for the past five years, but this is the first year officials brought classes for children from birth through kindergarten, together with parenting classes at the District Education Center.

Rowan Graduate Overcomes Cultural Barriers

Five years ago, Keicha Muriel only knew three words of English: "how," "are" and "you." Now she is fluent in the language and will graduate in May from Rowan University with a bachelor's degree in civil and environmental engineering. Muriel, 21, moved from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to South Jersey at age 16. Soon after her arrival, she enrolled in entered high school where she attended ESL classes. Although she knew very little English at the time and had to adjust to the culture shock, she applied herself and learned the language.