WRD 104February 25, 2014Fulfilling Linguistic DreamsThe United States of America serves as a beacon of hope for millions of people around the world. This nation has become a symbol of opportunity, a goal for families, and a refuge for those in danger. These perceptions bring millions of immigrants here year after year. Today over 10% of U.S. population consists of foreign-born residents (Stufft). People are continuing to flock to the U.S. in hopes of finding success, but our nation remains unprepared for them. Often, the first American system immigrants find themselves interacting with is schools. Immigrants with children want to ensure that theirkids are being well educated in their new home. Schools are not prepared to meet those needs seeing as, “National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scale scores for Non-English Language Learners 4th- and 8th-graders were higher than their English Language Learners (ELL) peers’ scores” (English). An achievement gap has grown between English speaking students and their English learning peers. It goes beyond 8thgrade; “these students are among the most likely to drop out before the 12th grade” (Romo). There is a disparity that exists between Americans who speak English and children who do not when it comes to education. Without adequate support for immigrants in schools, academic success is out of reach. Students learning English as a second language are falling behind due to poorly constructed ESL programs. ESL programs in America are in need of more attention, funding, and restructure in order to foster successful immigrants students.
In order to stimulate significant attention for these programs, we must look at what is going on and where the problem is found. As immigration continues, the population of children who do not speak English is growing. In fact, “Their numbers doubled between 1980 and 2009, and they now make up 21 percent of school-age kids” (Armario). There is a rise in the amount of ELL students in our schools. Currently, American schools generally have ESL programs that involve students being taken out to work individually with tutors or specialists on their skills. Along with this, they are usually participating in a regular, English class (Stufft). When students are placed in this type of class, “the longer these students stay in special language programs, the further they fall behind in other subjects” (Amario). We can see this play out when looking at the graduation rates of ELL students. Annual research by the U.S. Department of Education revealed that, “nearly half of states graduated less than 60 percent of students with limited English proficiency in 2010-2011” (Romo). They also can become socially isolated because of the in class time they are missing (Armario). Clearly something is missing. Some sort of loss is occurring during these children’s education to cause them to remain behind in school or unable to complete school. ELL students are suffering
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- Winter '08
- Multilingualism, bilingual education