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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Dallas ISD Chief Hinojosa Says Bilingual Teachers 'Protected'

Dallas schools superintendent Michael Hinojosa said today that bilingual teachers were largely protected from recent layoffs because of the district's student population. Students with limited proficiency in English now number 53,785 in the Dallas Independent School District, or 34 percent of total enrollment. Some teachers complained after the district's recent layoffs that bilingual teachers, and particular those recruited from other countries, were not impacted.

ELL and Refugee Enrollments Soar in Fargo, ND

West Fargo and Fargo haven't seen such large numbers of refugee students entering their schools since before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The influx has created record English Language Learner enrollment. In West Fargo, the ELL enrollment has forced the district to look at expanding its Newcomer Center only two months after it opened. More refugees are flocking to the area — stabilizing resettlement numbers that were drastically affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Study Debunks Myth That Early Immigrants Quickly Learned English

Joseph Salmons has always been struck by the pervasiveness of the argument. As a professor of German who has extensively studied European immigrant languages in the Midwest, Salmons recently discovered there was little direct research available about whether this "learn English or bust" ethic really existed, and that in fact the German language often thrived in business and the community for two or three generations before the immigrants' descendents learned English.

Oregon Voters Will Parse English Immersion Debate

Measure 58, which claims the best way to learn English is to immerse children in it without regard to their native language, squarely fits with a language controversy as old as America itself. The rise and fall of U.S. immigration rates, with the accompanying alternating attitudes towards immigrants, influences the debate. Language, especially English immersion, most recently has been cast as a surrogate for an anti-immigrant stance.

Schools in South Carolina Expect More Diversity

South Carlolina's Taylors Elementary School holds an Immigration Day in November to help students appreciate differences among their peers. The students are also taught the life stories of heroes from various races to help them better understand other cultures. These are just some of the methods Principal Vaughan Overman uses to reach students of varying racial and ethnic backgrounds. Because of the continuing growth of the Hispanic population, the look of schools across the country is changing, according to a report released by the Southern Regional Education Board.

Extended Time, Bilingual Dictionaries, and Test Items Read Aloud

In her "Learning the Language" blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "Those are the three accommodations that states most frequently permit English-language learners to use while taking their state's regular math and reading tests, new research shows … Researchers at George Washington University's Center for Equity and Excellence in Education report this information and much more about states' policies on testing accommodations for ELLs in a descriptive study, a 'best practices' study, and a guide they expect to release on Thursday."

Its Native Tongue Facing Extinction, Arapaho Tribe Teaches the Young

At 69, her eyes soft and creased with age, Alvena Oldman remembers how the teachers at St. Stephens boarding school on the Wind River Reservation would strike students with rulers if they dared to talk in their native Arapaho language. More than a half-century later, only about 200 Arapaho speakers are still alive, and tribal leaders at Wind River, Wyoming's only Indian reservation, fear their language will not survive. As part of an intensifying effort to save that language, this tribe of 8,791, known as the Northern Arapaho, recently opened a new school where students will be taught in Arapaho. Elders and educators say they hope it will create a new generation of native speakers.

Colombian 'Biblioburro' Has 4,800 Books and 10 Legs

In a ritual repeated nearly every weekend for the past decade here in Colombia's war-weary Caribbean hinterlands, Luis Soriano gathered his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, in front of his home on a recent Saturday afternoon. Sweating already under the unforgiving sun, he strapped pouches with the word "Biblioburro" painted in blue letters to the donkeys' backs and loaded them with an eclectic cargo of books destined for people living in the small villages beyond.

Education Officials Back Down on Some Proposed ELL Mandates

Bowing to complaints from state officials and advocates for English-language learners, the federal government has published a final — and more flexible — "interpretation" of how states should carry out the section of the No Child Left Behind Act that applies to such students.

Cost-Conscious Students Flock to Community Colleges

Community colleges are reporting skyrocketing enrollment, as students make tough choices in a sputtering economy. Some students are giving up on more expensive four-year schools and doing two years in a community college.