How do Bilingual/Multilingual English Learners in Schools fare by State? Take a Look

Today, I was reminded of this report that came out in 2017 by NPR.  The report provides a summary of who are multilingual/bilingual English learners in our education system, what kind of programs they received education and how they fare compared to all students in the graduation rates.  Here are a few highlights and then please click on the link below to read more.

  • 1 in 10 students across the US and multi-lingual/bilingual English learners (about 5 million students)
  • Spanish is the most commonly spoken language but students speak hundreds of other languages as well (see map), followed by Chinese, Vietnamese, & Arabic
  • Most multi-lingual/bilingual learners are born in the US.  From Pre-k-5 (85%) and 6th through 12th grade (62%)
  • The state with the most multi-lingual/bilingual learners in California (29% of the student population) followed by Texas (18%), Florida (5%), and New York (4%)
  • States with the largest growth of multi-lingual/bilingual learners– Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina
  • Most multi-lingual/bilingual learners struggle regardless of which state they go because ELL programs provide low expectations for students due to their low quality.
  • Three main programs are ESL, Transitional Bilingual and Dual Language/Immersion
  • Outcomes in terms of graduation indicate that in only one state those multi-lingual / bilingual learners outperformed all students– West Virginia.  In all other states, there were significant gaps in graduation rates for all multi-lingual / bilingual learner
  • On average across the US, only 63% of multi-lingual / bilingual English learners graduate from high school as compared to 82% of all other students.
  • In 2016, 32/50 states reported not having enough teachers for multi-lingual / bilingual English learners
  • Only 2% of multi-lingual / bilingual English learners are enrolled in all gifted programs compared to 7.3% of the rest of the populations


Claudia Rinaldi View All →

Professor Claudia Rinaldi is the Chair of the Education Program at Lasell University. Her areas of research are the implementation of the Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) framework in urban settings with English learners, teacher education in bilingual special education, and diversifying the teacher pipeline. Claudia has authored peer-reviewed publications and a book for educators called Practical Ways to Engage All Struggling Readers. She lead and developed a graduate certificate program in Teaching Bilingual Students with Disabilities for general, ESL and special education teachers geared towards applying research-informed practices to the questions and processes of identifying whether it is a language difference or a learning disability. Claudia developed a college mentoring program called Pathways to Teacher Diversity for districts and teacher education programs to partner in identifying and supporting underrepresented high school students interested in teaching careers to successfully access and persist in college. She serves in various boards including the National Center for Learning Disabilities and serves as an expert for and the National Center for Intensive Interventions.

Professor Claudia Rinaldi believes that it is critical to prepare teacher leaders who may serve as advocates and allies and who will respond to the belief that all students can learn and succeed beyond barriers like culture, language, disability poverty, and marginalization in our country and globally.

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