Editorial Says Massachusetts Is Failing Its ELLs

By Mary Ann Zehr — August 04, 2008 1 min read
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I’ll give you one reason why Massachusetts legislators and educators might want to pay careful attention to an editorial about English-language learners in their state published this morning in the Boston Globe: the lawyers who wrote it were key players in convincing a federal judge to rule last month that Texas has violated federal law by not adequately serving ELLs at the secondary level.

The editorial’s authors are Roger Rice and Jane Lopez, lawyers for Multicultural Education, Training, and Advocacy, or META, in Somerville, Mass. Along with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, META represented plaintiffs in the Texas case who felt ELLs were getting short shrift.

Mr. Rice and Ms. Lopez argue that low high school graduation rates for ELLs (53 percent graduate) and high drop-out rates (nearly a quarter drop out) show that Massachusetts needs to improve how it educates such students. They also point out that test scores show a large achievement gap between ELLs and non-ELLs.

In Texas, the lawyers similarly used the state’s own data to make the case that ELLs weren’t being served well.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.