English-Language Learners

Pointing Out Inequities for English-Language Learners

By Lesli A. Maxwell — January 17, 2012 1 min read

Good morning readers. Let’s kick off this short work week with a long post on English learners from a former Los Angeles elementary school teacher who is guest blogging over at Rick Hess Straight Up.

Patricia Dickenson, who writes mostly about the ELL experience in California, uses the occasion of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to highlight the policies and practices she sees as inequitable in public schooling for English learners.

Among her major points:


  • Many ELL teachers are new to the profession and lack the seasoning that comes from years of experience;
  • Too many English learners in middle and high school are tracked into courses based on their language proficiency rather than content ability, particularly in math and science; and
  • ELL students of different abilities and levels of proficiency are too often lumped together in classrooms.

What every day policies and practices do you see as major impediments to higher achievement for English learners?

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