California’s middle school programs are failing English-language learners and limiting their futures, according to a new report by a San Francisco-based research group.
Researchers at WestEd focused on the Golden State because its schools enroll 30 percent of the nation’s English-language learners. Drawing on survey data from districts with high concentrations of ELL students, as well as interviews conducted at 64 schools, the researchers argue that schools must accelerate the pace at which ELL students engage with grade-level content, especially in core subject areas. They also call for investing more in teaching middle school educators how to support students who are new to English, creating small schools, and finding meaningful ways to bring parents into their children’s schools. Case studies of programs for English-learners in five schools are also included.
A version of this article appeared in the May 12, 2010 edition of Education Week as Middle Schools and ELLs