U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on English Learners
- Published: Tuesday, 27 September 2016 09:45
The U.S. Department of Education today released non-regulatory guidance to help states, districts and schools provide effective services to improve the English language proficiency and academic achievement of English learners (ELs) through Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The guidance is an effort to ensure that students who are English learners receive the high-quality services they need to be college and career ready.
“In too many places across the country, English learners get less access to quality teachers, less access to advanced coursework, and less access to the resources they need to succeed. Together, we can change that reality,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, we have an opportunity to give students the gift of bilingualism and of multilingualism so they are prepared for college and career with a better sense of themselves, their community, their future, and a better appreciation for our diversity as a country.”
In the 2014-15 school year, more than 4.8 million English learners were enrolled in U.S. schools in grades K-12. English learners comprise nearly 10 percent of the student population nationwide, a figure that has more than doubled in the past few decades, and in many schools, districts and states, English learners are an even higher percentage of the student population. Estimates suggest that this number may be even higher for learners under the age of six. For example, nearly a third of children in Head Start programs are classified as dual language learners. There is also a growing body of research that makes clear that students who are bilingual have advantages, not only in their literacy development, but in the development of problem-solving skills and other areas of cognition in addition to a potential for greater earnings over their lifetimes.