English-Language Learners News in Brief

Majority of English-Learners Born in U.S., Study Finds

By Corey Mitchell — December 13, 2016 1 min read

The majority of English-language learners in U.S. K-12 schools were born in the United States, according to an analysis from the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute.

The institute’s analysis of U.S. Census data found that 82 percent of prekindergarten to 5th grade English-learners and 65 percent of 6th and 12th grade English-learners are U.S.-born.

The data included children ages 5 to 17 who live with at least one parent. The decision to rely on that set of numbers may have excluded sizable portions of the nation’s K-12 ELL population, namely older English-learner students with interrupted formal education and some undocumented students, including unaccompanied minors separated from parents and other family.

The analysis identifies 2.2 million limited English-proficient residents between the ages of 5 and 17. That’s less than half the number of English-learners that the U.S. Department of Education estimates attended public elementary and secondary schools during the 2013-14 school year.

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A version of this article appeared in the December 14, 2016 edition of Education Week as Majority of English-Learners Born in U.S., Study Finds

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