Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese are the top three home languages for English-language learners in the nation’s K-12 public schools, according to data from the federal education department.
With 3.8 million students listing Spanish as their home language, about 3 out of 4 English-learners were Spanish speakers during the 2013-14 school year. Arabic and Chinese each had more than 100,000 speakers, with each language accounting for about 2 percent each of ELLs. For Chinese, the data did not distinguish between Mandarin and Cantonese speakers.
Seventeen percent of kindergartners and 1st graders are identified as ELLs, compared with 8 percent of 6th graders and slightly less than 5 percent of juniors and seniors.
A version of this article appeared in the March 09, 2016 edition of Education Week as Spanish, Arabic, Chinese Top ELL Home Languages