Family Fluency in English and Student Achievement

By Troy Scott — August 09, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Children from families with less fluency in English experience increased academic difficulties, a problem that is confounded, according to a 2007 report from the National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics , by other factors negatively impacting student achievement such as low parental education and poverty.

The purpose of this Stat of the Week, therefore, is to examine the proportion of children nationwide—regardless of specific ethnicity—that live with parents lacking English fluency and hence may be at increased risk for early-learning problems. The EPE Research Center’s analysis for Quality Counts 2007 of data from the 2005 American Community Survey reveals that approximately 16 percent of children living in the U.S. come from families that are not linguistically integrated.

The extent of this problem is depicted in the accompanying national map, which includes a state-by-state breakdown of dependent children whose parents are not fluent English-speakers. Extremely large state-to-state differences currently exist, with the highest percentages of such children being found in states such as California (37.7 percent), Texas (27.2 percent), and Arizona (24.7 percent); other states such as Montana, Vermont, and West Virginia have only approximately one percent of their children coming from non-fluent households.

Parental English Proficiency


Source: EPE Research Center, 2007

However, since the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that nearly a quarter of all U.S. citizens will be of Hispanic origin by the year 2050, all 50 states and the District of Columbia may need to address the educational problems associated with this lack of English-language proficiency. The National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics proposes interventions, such as improved access to high quality, early-childhood programs and increased numbers of early-childhood educators who are dual-language proficient. In addition, even more sweeping policy issues may be required, such as improved housing, healthcare, and employment opportunities. (“Breaking the Cycle of Poverty,” Quality Counts 2007, Jan. 4, 2007.)

Linguistic integration is one of 13 indicators that form the basis of the EPE Research Center’s Chance for Success framework. All of these indicators and many more state-level K-12 education indicators can be found in Education Counts, an interactive database with mapping capabilities.


Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Boosting Student and Staff Mental Health: What Schools Can Do
Join this free virtual event based on recent reporting on student and staff mental health challenges and how schools have responded.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
Practical Methods for Integrating Computer Science into Core Curriculum
Dive into insights on integrating computer science into core curricula with expert tips and practical strategies to empower students at every grade level.
Content provided by

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: October 11, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 27, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 20, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education From Our Research Center What's on the Minds of Educators, in Charts
Politics, gender equity, and technology—how teachers and administrators say these issues are affecting the field.
1 min read
Stylized illustration of a pie chart
Traci Daberko for Education Week