School & District Management

Politics Found To Hinder Research on LEP Students

By Lynn Schnaiberg — January 22, 1997 1 min read

Political debates over how language-minority children should be taught have hindered research into the field and evaluations of programs created to help such children succeed in school, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Too much research has been used to try to prove whether an English-only or bilingual approach works best with limited-English-proficient students, according to a panel of researchers and educators convened by the NRC, the research arm of the Washington-based National Academy of Sciences.

Rather, efforts should be directed at identifying a multitude of approaches that work, taking into consideration local needs and resources, the report released last week says.

“In recent years, studies quickly have become politicized by advocacy groups selectively promoting research findings to support their positions,” said Kenji Hakuta, an education professor at Stanford University and the chairman of the NRC committee that drafted the 483-page report.

“As a result, important areas are ignored, such as how to enable these students to meet rigorous academic standards,” he said.

Coordination Needed

An estimated 2.3 million U.S. schoolchildren cannot speak or understand English fully; almost 70 percent of those children live in California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.

In its report, the panel takes stock of what is known and what future research needs exist in areas ranging from student assessment and program evaluation to teacher preparation and development. The panel outlines priorities and methodologies and analyzes the research infrastructure at the federal level and, to a lesser extent, in states and private foundations.

To better coordinate federal research on language-minority children, the panel recommends creating an advisory group within the U.S. Department of Education that would oversee such research and make sure that students with limited English skills are not ignored in decisionmaking on research priorities, funding, and dissemination.

For More Information:

Prepublication copies of “Improving Schooling for Language-Minority Children: A Research Agenda’’ are available for $55 plus shipping charges from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418; (800) 624-6242. Final copies of the report will be available in the spring.

Related Tags:

Events

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.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Addressing Learning Loss: What Schools Need to Accelerate Reading Instruction in K-3
When K-3 students return to classrooms this fall, there will be huge gaps in foundational reading skills. Does your school or district need a plan to address learning loss and accelerate student growth? In this
Content provided by PDX Reading
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.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn

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

School & District Management Opinion A Crisis Sows Confusion. How District Leaders Can Be Clear in Their Messaging
Choosing a go-to source of information is a good starting point, but it doesn’t end there.
Daniel R. Moirao
2 min read
A man with his head in a cloud.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
School & District Management Opinion COVID-19 Ripped Through Our Emotional Safety Net. Here’s How My District Responded
Three years after overhauling its approach to student mental health, one California district found itself facing a new crisis.
Jonathan Cooper
2 min read
A young man stands under a street light on a lonely road.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
School & District Management Opinion Students Need Better Connections. To Wi-Fi, Yes, But Also to Teachers
We have to fix our digital divide, but let’s not lose sight of the relationship divide, writes one superintendent.
Susan Enfield
2 min read
A teacher checks in on a remote student.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
School & District Management Opinion Superintendents Have Weathered a Lot of Vitriol This Year. What Have We Learned?
The pandemic turned district leaders into pioneers, writes one superintendent. We had to band together to make it through.
Matthew Montgomery
2 min read
A person walks from a vast empty space towards a team of people.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images