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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Latino Educational Leader in San Diego Is Recognized

The non-profit organization Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) recently recognized Dr. Alberto Ochoa "for more than 30 years of advocacy, inspiration, encouragement, and motivation to the Latino community and San Diego State University." Ochoa, who is retiring this year, is Professor Emeritus in the Policy Studies in Language and Culture Department at SDSU and a lifelong advocate for quality education for minorities, especially Latinos.

The Bilingual Debate: Transitional Classrooms

In this installment of Education Watch, Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, writes, "Despite his own family history — or perhaps inspired by it — Barack Obama is pitching a middle ground when it comes to bilingual education. He rejects the English-only thrust of nativist conservatives, while distancing himself from advocates of cultural preservation."

The Bilingual Debate: English Immersion

In this installment of Education Watch, Lance T. Izumi, a senior fellow in California studies and the senior director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, writes, "(T)he the question for Mr. Obama is whether his commitment to bilingual education, which emphasizes classroom instruction in languages other than English, overrides his interest in closing achievement gaps."

English Period in Boston

Do you remember the indecipherable teacher's voice from old Charlie Brown cartoons? That's what second grade sounds like to 7-year-old Marian Lora. In this country for all of a few weeks, she understands almost no English. But during her first 30 days of school in Framingham, that's all she will be hearing from teachers, under the requirements of a state law that seeks to minimize bilingual education in favor of immersing children quickly into the English language.

Schools Found Likely to Miss NCLB Targets

A pair of new studies cast doubt on U.S. schools' ability to make the academic improvements required under the No Child Left Behind Act, a topic likely to be of prime concern to members of Congress next year as it prepares to review the law's core goals during reauthorization. One of the reasons the studies' authors believe these improvements are unlikely is the difficulty of bringing English-language learners and economically disadvantaged students up to speed academically.

Camp Exposes Latino Students to Careers

In the past 13 years, Manti-La Sal National Forest ranger station has seen all sorts of job applicants — fresh-out-of-high-school students trying to earn money for college, outdoor enthusiasts looking to land a fun job, and 20-somethings just getting started on their scientific careers. But in all that time, said U.S. Forest Service silviculturist Diane Cote, only one Hispanic has walked into the station with an application in hand. Last weekend, the Forest Service took steps to mend that discrepancy. The Rocky Mountain Research Station, of which the Manti La Sal Forest is a part, recruited 30 Hispanic students from Utah County high schools to attend a natural science camp at the Great Basin Environmental Education Center.

Schools Fulfill Need for Interpreters

Like many children of foreign-born parents, 11-year-old Yemni Lizeth Gonzalez often finds herself working as an interpreter for her mother and father, who are from Mexico. But at a recent parent workshop hosted by North Carolina's Durham Public School District, Yemni was able to sit back and nibble on a piece of pizza while someone else — an actual interpreter — helped get her Spanish-speaking parents up to speed.

Academy Is Breaking Language Barriers

A peak inside the World Language Academy reveals many uncommon scenes. On the floor, kindergartners sit listening intently as their animated teacher reads them a book in Spanish. In the classroom next door, native English and Spanish speaking students sing a numbers song in Mandarin Chinese. And down the hall, children clamor for a red ball in the gym shouting, "Quiero la pelota roja." Comprised of more than 400 students and staff from nine different countries, including Ecuador, Colombia and China, the World Language Academy is breaking language barriers.

Green Bay School District Not Concerned by Language Barriers

Communication was the single biggest challenge for Ailed Perez when she moved to the United States from Mexico about four years ago. Today, the 13-year-old Green Bay middle school student easily speaks English, is enrolled in mainstream classes and is used to how things work in an American school. While getting up early is perhaps Ailed's biggest school-related challenge these days, the communication difficulties that once plagued her remain for her parents. In the increasingly diverse Green Bay School District, Ailed's parents aren't alone. But school officials are making a variety of efforts to ensure parents — not just their kids — are getting the message.

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