Special Report

Teaching America's English-Language Learners

A Special Report
May 11, 2016
Nearly 5 million children in U.S. public schools are learning the English language. These students are in classrooms in most school systems—and face some of the steepest odds for graduating from high school—yet only one-third of district-level leaders believe educators in their schools are prepared to effectively teach English-learners, according to an Education Week Research Center survey from late last year. So with the number of ELLs projected to keep growing, educators face an urgent imperative to vastly improve achievement for English-learners. How will they do that? Leer en español (read in Spanish)
  • Pre-K student Kailyn Walker reaches for a book in her classroom at the Dual Language Academy in Tulsa, Okla., where 50 percent of children are English-learners and students are taught in English and Spanish.
    Pre-K student Kailyn Walker reaches for a book in her classroom at the Dual Language Academy in Tulsa, Okla., where 50 percent of children are English-learners and students are taught in English and Spanish.
    Shane Bevel for Education Week
    Reading & Literacy Building ELLs' Literacy Early Is Crucial
    More states and school districts are aiming to reach ELLs early as mounting evidence shows that exposure to language instruction boosts young children's odds of stronger academic achievement later on.
    Corey Mitchell, May 11, 2016
    10 min read
    English-Language Learners Video: A Day in the Life of a Multilingual High School
    At Pennsylvania's Upper Darby High School in suburban Philadelphia, more than 15 languages are spoken in a student body of nearly 4,000.
    May 11, 2016
    Eriselda Hernandez, right, reads with Fernanda Arana, 6, before school begins at Washington Elementary School in San Jose, Calif. The school’s weekly Madre a Madre meetings help bring parents into the school regularly to support children’s literacy development.
    Eriselda Hernandez, right, reads with Fernanda Arana, 6, before school begins at Washington Elementary School in San Jose, Calif. The school’s weekly Madre a Madre meetings help bring parents into the school regularly to support children’s literacy development.
    Preston Gannaway/GRAIN for Education Week
    Federal Home-School Connections Help ELLs and Their Parents
    English-language learners whose parents actively support their learning are more successful in learning English and in achieving at school, so how can schools do a better job of building relationships with families that usually speak languages other than English?
    Corey Mitchell, May 11, 2016
    8 min read
    Kevin Pineda, 18, is due to graduate from Fairfax High School in Los Angeles in June. After years of struggling to master English, Pineda credits a course taught by Joel Miller for helping him achieve proficiency in English and putting him on track to earn his diploma.
    Kevin Pineda, 18, is due to graduate from Fairfax High School in Los Angeles in June. After years of struggling to master English, Pineda credits a course taught by Joel Miller for helping him achieve proficiency in English and putting him on track to earn his diploma.
    Emile Wamsteker for Education Week
    Federal For Stalled ELL Students, Graduation Is Often an Elusive Goal
    Long-term English-learners—those who are not considered proficient for five or more years—are at a great risk of dropping out of school. What can schools do to keep these students on track to graduate?
    Alyson Klein, May 11, 2016
    11 min read
    Curriculum Quality Learning Materials Are Scarce for English-Language Learners
    Teachers and ELL experts say there is an array of problems with curricula and learning materials meant for English-learners. But they all agree on two key points: The materials are usually too simple and too disconnected from grade-level goals.
    Liana Loewus, May 11, 2016
    10 min read
    Ke’mari Barnes, left, and Yesenia Gomez work together on puzzle cards during a pre-K class at the Dual Language Academy in Tulsa, Okla. Half of the school’s students are English-language learners and represent a major demographic shift in recent years in the school district.
    Ke’mari Barnes, left, and Yesenia Gomez work together on puzzle cards during a pre-K class at the Dual Language Academy in Tulsa, Okla. Half of the school’s students are English-language learners and represent a major demographic shift in recent years in the school district.
    Shane Bevel for Education Week
    Federal Teaching English-Language Learners: What Does the Research Tell Us?
    Questions around which instructional strategies work best for English-learners are far from settled, including how much a bilingual approach to teaching puts such students at an advantage.
    Sarah D. Sparks, May 11, 2016
    10 min read
    English-Language Learners Interactive English-Language-Learner Statistics
    See where English-language learners live and which home languages they speak.
    May 11, 2016
    1 min read