English Language Learners: A Growing – Yet Underserved – Student Population
This issue of the Progress of Education Reform presents research and data on the educational issues related to the US English language learner (ELL) population. The brief calls for urgency in supporting the fastest growing population of students in K-12 schools. Key takeaways from the research and data described in the brief include:
Nearly one in 10 K-12 student in US public schools are English learners (and this number maybe systematically underestimated).
Long-term ELLs suffer worse outcomes than other English learners, and states generally do not monitor how long students are in English-learner programs.
Preschool programs are generally ill-equipped to help English learners, although cognitive research supports bilingual programs for preschoolers.
Many classroom teachers (pre-K-12 grade) receive little to no training in addressing ELL students’ needs.
Not only does this brief provide research-based recommendations to support ELLs, it also highlights approaches and lessons learned that can help inform state responses.