Monday, April 24, 2006

Segregation of English Language Learners in Calif.

A new study finds that California's English learners -- students who are
not yet proficient in English -- attend highly segregated schools, which
hinders their educational opportunities. The study found that, at the
elementary school level, more than half of California's English learners
attended just 21 percent of the state's public schools, where they
comprised more than 50 percent of the student body. The study also found
that 80 schools in the state have English learners from more than 20
language backgrounds. According to the researchers, segregation limits
educational opportunities for English learners, or ELs, in several ways.
First, many English learners in California are handicapped by their lack
of access to native English speakers, who serve as language "role models."
Second, most English learners in California come from low-income homes,
so high concentrations of English learners also means many English
learners attend low-income schools, a significant disadvantage. Third,
schools with high concentrations of English learners are less likely to
have fully certified teachers than schools with low concentrations of
English learners, even after accounting for differences in school poverty.
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