ESL Teachers and Common Core: What’s Their Role?

By Lesli A. Maxwell — August 26, 2013 1 min read
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In most discussions about English-language learners and the common core, you will hear or read some version of this statement: Teaching literacy and supporting English-language acquisition will no longer be the sole province of English-as-a-second language teachers.

But what about the flip side of that statement? What new and changing roles must ESL teachers embrace in the common core era?

There are nearly 50,000 ESL teachers working in the nation’s public schools, and they are on the front lines of ensuring that English-learners, who are the fastest growing student subgroup, learn the language.

Are local districts and schools preparing ESL teachers for the common standards and the more demanding uses of language that they require of students? If so, how? And are school leaders thoughtfully deploying their ESL educators to work closely with content teachers who may really struggle with providing supports to ELLs? And more informally, but just as important, what are individual ESL teachers doing on their own to prepare themselves for the shift?

I’ll be pursuing answers to these questions and more in an upcoming story. That’s where all of you come in. I’m looking for leads and ideas from ESL teachers and other educators who know where good work is being done. You can ping me at or write in the comments section.

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