New Report: English Learners in the Aftermath of Policy Change
Posted by on April 13, 2009
English-only instruction rule doubles the dropout rate
A new report profiled in The Boston Globe has found that in the wake of a voter-approved law change six years ago that requires all students be taught in English, the high school dropout rate has nearly doubled for English language learners in Boston. The study, from the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts and analyzed data between 2003 and 2006, and portrays a school system ill-prepared to serve nonnative English speakers, about 38 percent of the Boston’s 56,000 students. In many cases, the district fails to evaluate properly and subsequently identify hundreds of students for special language instruction, and doesn’t give parents information on program options. Overall, the data show that the law, intended to accelerate English fluency, hasn’t helped English language learners to catch up with their English-speaking peers, in many cases leaving them further behind. Carol R. Johnson, superintendent of Boston schools, said the district will revamp the way it tests students for services, expand programs, and provide more comprehensive information to parents. “I think everybody recognizes we need to move with a sense of urgency,” she said. “Children need help and we need to help them now.”
See the report: http://www.gaston.umb.edu/
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