Every Student Succeeds Act What the Research Says

Some States’ Goals for English-Learners ‘Purely Symbolic’

By Corey Mitchell — February 25, 2020 1 min read

English-language-learner education policies nationwide remain “disjointed and inaccessible to local education officials, teachers, and education advocates” more than four years after the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, finds a new Migration Policy Institute report.

Researchers gauged ESSA plans for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, analyzing policies that affect students’ English-language-acquisition journey, their academic achievement as a student subgroup, and their inclusion in state accountability systems. It found disparate state timelines for English-learners’ progress and dozens of state plans that do little to hold schools responsible for the performance of their English-learners.

“In terms of academic achievement, more often than not, long-term goals [for ELLs] were purely symbolic because they rarely played a meaningful role in accountability systems,” the report concludes.

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A version of this article appeared in the February 26, 2020 edition of Education Week as Some States’ Goals for English-Learners ‘Purely Symbolic’

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