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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Study Finds Disparities in Teacher Qualifications

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing found nearly six-and-a-half percent of all California teachers were assigned to a class they were not qualified to teach. The majority of these assignments were in classrooms where English was a second language, affecting Latino students the most.

Voter Registration Drive Takes Multilingual Feel in Boston

Just outside the China Pearl restaurant in Chinatown, where roasted ducks dangled and pictures of bubble tea hung in the windows, Raymond Chow, 18, sat at a card table with a sign taped on it that read "Voter Registration Drive." The words repeated seven times in various scripts and languages — including Chinese. The City Council has supported a proposed law that would require that ballots be translated into Chinese and Vietnamese in all elections in the city, including state and federal elections, but the measure still requires legislative approval.

Companies Take Lead in Assimilation Efforts

Marriott International is currently offering thousands of foreign-born housekeepers, cooks, and maintenance workers its no-cost "Thirst for Knowledge" program, which helps employees learning English by simulating conversations in banks, hospitals, shops, and schools as well as in hotel kitchens and lobbies. Marriott is among several dozen major U.S. corporations spearheading a campaign to turn the divisive national debate about immigration in a more positive direction. Amid increasing public hostility to immigrants and intensifying efforts by local and federal authorities to crack down on illegal immigration, these business leaders hope to counter criticism that immigrants steal jobs and burden public services by highlighting the contributions they make to the U.S. economy and improving their ability to integrate.

Hispanic Population Soars in Northeastern Pennsylvania

New census estimates released Thursday show Northeast Pennsylvania's Hispanic population grew dramatically in 2007, spurred by a 20.5 percent surge in Luzerne County, the fastest rate in the state. Members of the region's Hispanic community say the latest figures portend a demographic shift that is already sending ripples through the area's social, cultural, and economic fabric.

CT Schools Facing Teacher Shortages

As school districts scramble to fill vacant teaching positions before kids start heading back to school this month, a shortage of science, math and foreign language teachers remains a statewide roadblock. In New Haven, officials have traveled all the way to Puerto Rico to recruit much-sought-after (and hard to find) bilingual teachers. Across the state, districts are seeing an influx of English-language learners; more than 9,000 entered Connecticut schools from 2000 to 2005 alone, according to the state Department of Education.

Virginia School District Plugs Gap With Summer Reading

Early afternoon is a quiet time in Ervin Salazar's house in Fairfax, VA, when the 11-year-old likes to relax on the couch with a book. Then he writes a postcard to his teacher, describing his favorite scenes. In reply, his teacher sends more books. Ervin is part of a summer school program, but he doesn't catch a bus or fill out worksheets or prepare for tests. He just reads.

Latinos Say They Have Numbers but No Voice in Texas District

With Texas' North Forest School District facing possible closure, advocates worry that the Hispanic parents — many of whom are immigrants with limited English skills — do not have a voice, though some hope the serious situation inspires political activism.

Tribes Use Camps to Speak on Preserving Language

Several dozen children stand atop a bluff in Hualapai Mountain Park to face the morning sun as it peeks over a distant ridge. "Nyims thava hmado we'e," they chant in the Pai language, meaning "Boys greet the morning sun." And then for girls: "Nyima thava masi:yo we'e." In an America dominated by computers, TV, and video games, a decreasing number of Native Americans, especially younger ones, can speak or understand their native tongues.

U.S. Army Hopes to Keep Native Arabic Speakers

The Army may begin paying a retention bonus of as much as $150,000 to Arabic speaking soldiers in reflection of how critical it has become for the US military to retain native language and cultural know-how in its ranks. Now, as the military makes a fundamental shift toward rewarding the linguistic expertise it needs the most, it is expanding a program to train and retain native Arabic and other speakers from the same regions in which it is fighting.

An Education in Pure Silliness

Ellie Herman, a television writer and new intern teacher at a charter school in South Los Angeles, writes about her recent decision to become a teacher: "I braced myself to keep going even if there were times of struggle, of heartbreak, of feeling inadequate and humiliated, even if there were times when I wanted to weep from frustration. And indeed, I have experienced all that. But what's crazy is that I haven't even set foot in a classroom yet."

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