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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Teaching and Welcoming English-Learners: New Guide from Teaching Tolerance Offers Advice

Teaching Tolerance, an education project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, has published an online guide designed to help educators ensure that English-language learners and their families have equitable experiences at school. The primer offers advice on topics ranging from family engagement and anti-bias strategies to classroom culture and instruction. The recommendations were adapted from Critical Practices for Anti-Bias Education, the organization's professional-development guide, and advice from the Southern Poverty Law Center's legal team.

In 'Margot Sanchez,' A Teen Grows Up and Learns to Love the Bronx

Margot Sanchez has big dreams of fitting in at the new, expensive prep school her family has sacrificed to send her to. But it's summer and instead of going to the Hamptons with her rich, white friends, she's stuck working at her family's business in the Bronx. Margot is the protagonist of Lilliam Rivera's new young adult novel, The Education of Margot Sanchez. Rivera explains that Margot is "being punished because she stole her father's credit card to charge some pants and clothes for herself, and her punishment is to work off her debts at her father's supermarket." Needless to say, she isn't happy about it. But it turns out to be a summer of revelation for Margot. "She's going to realize that there are things that she is going to love about the Bronx," Rivera says.

Outdoor Play for Young Learners

In her latest article for The Huffington Post, Dr. Rebecca Palacios, Senior Curriculum Advisor for Age of Learning / ABCmouse.com and an advisor for Colorín Colorado writes, "Did you go outside and play when you were a young child? Did you love that special time of freedom to look at leaves, play with pets, spend time with friends, or simply lay down and look at the sky? Many young children today don't have that opportunity. Through the years, we've lost some of that freedom we had as children, when our parents opened the door and said, 'Go play outside.' It was our chance to use our imaginations, jump rope, play jacks, play ball, play with toys outside, or do whatever we wanted to do. It was completely our own time until we were called for lunch or dinner."

California Can Lead the Country in English-Learner Education

Vickie Ramos Harris is the Associate Director of Education Policy at Advancement Project California. In this column, she writes, "Because English Learners comprise 9% of the public school population in the United States, their education is an important issue for every school system in the country.  California's leadership in this area is critical.  In fact, California is uniquely positioned to lead the nation on English Learner education as nearly a quarter (22%) of the state's public school students are English Learners, and nearly 60% of children birth to age five live in a home where English is not their primary language."

Researchers, Advocates Divided Over Reclassifying English Learners

Researchers and language experts have long criticized the subjectivity and variations in criteria that California districts have used to determine when English learners are proficient in English. But proposed legislation to create uniform, statewide standards for doing so has hit a snag, with some of the nation’s leading academic experts expressing strong opposition to the bill.

City Hall Stirs Immigration Fears First, Gets Facts Later

When word came to New York's City Hall on Thursday, it appeared to confirm the administration’s worst fears: federal immigration agents had been to an elementary school in Queens to inquire about a fourth-grade student. However, the immigration agents who visited Public School 58 in Maspeth on May 11 were not enforcement officers, but fraud investigators for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, said Katherine Tichacek, a spokeswoman for the agency. The agents were trying to determine if a student was enrolled in order for a parent to qualify for an immigrant benefit, which could be permanent residency or a work authorization.

Mankato's English Language Education Focuses on the Whole Family

With growing diversity in Mankato, Minnesota comes a growing number of students who don't speak English. That's a challenge the city's school district and community organizations are taking on with expanded English language education programs. Their approach is to start early and focus on the whole family.

Author Interview: 'Digital Writing for English-Language Learners'

Rusul Alrubail agreed to answer a few questions about her new book Digital Writing For English Language Learners. Rusul Alrubail is the Executive Director of the Writing Project. She is also an author, speaker, educator, and social justice activist who has written for organizations including the PBS NewsHour, Edutopia, and Teaching Tolerance. You can connect with her on Twitter @RusulAlrubail and read her work on her Heart of a Teacher blog.