A recent brief from the National Education Policy Center outlines ways for policymakers, districts, and schools to improve educational opportunities for English-language learners. Those students tend to be concentrated in schools serving low-income populations and lacking adequate instruction or materials—a problem that is exacerbated by communication and cultural barriers between schools and parents, it says.
School-based efforts to strengthen parental involvement could help increase parental efficacy and advocacy, says the brief, written by William Mathis of the NEPC. Improved communication, collaboration with families, and an embrace of community culture, it says, could help alleviate educational challenges for ELLs. Providing parents with avenues to learn English would also help promote ELL parent involvement and encourage parents to read and write with their children at home.
For policymakers, adequacy studies and identified financial inequities in serving ELL students, once reviewed and updated, should be utilized for improved legislation and budget allocations, the brief recommends.
A version of this article appeared in the March 27, 2013 edition of Education Week as English-Learner Parents