Schools With Lots of ELLs ‘Are Being Unfairly Judged’

By Mary Ann Zehr — March 25, 2009 1 min read
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Accountability for schools in Great Britain differs from that in the United States, but a couple of opinions expressed in an article about English-language learners in Great Britain’s Daily Mail sound similar to those expressed by educators in the United States.

Mick Brookes, the general secretary of Great Britain’s National Association of Head Teachers, is quoted as saying: “We are now hearing head teachers complaining that they and their schools are being unfairly judged because they have a large number of children with English as a second language.”

Sound familiar?

Interestingly, the article reports that the British government was poised to announce a tax that would be levied on all immigrants from outside the European Union who apply for a visa to study or work in Great Britain. The money raised by the tax would be given to local authorities to provide public services to immigrants, such as schooling.

So, in other words, Great Britain is taxing the immigrants themselves to pay for their children’ s education.

This country has a strong tradition, backed by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Plyler v. Doe, of providing a free K-12 public education for any school-age child who lives here. I can’t imagine that a tax on immigrants to pay for their children’s education would fly in this country. But I would guess that some groups that are pushing for more limits on immigration would like the idea.

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