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Report: NC schools should do more for English language learners

Students learning English as a new language constitute one of the fastest-growing subgroups in the United States. A major new report from the NC Justice Center’s Education & Law Project examines the challenges facing this vulnerable population and finds that, by taking certain common-sense steps,  North Carolina schools can improve educational outcomes in a fiscally feasible way.

The report, by education policy fellow Tyler Whittenberg, analyzes what is being done to help educate these students – and what more needs to be done.

“These children have the potential to be vital members of the state’s workforce, but sadly, North Carolina schools are not equipping them with the skills needed to compete in a 21st century economy,” the report says.

Currently, more than one in every five students uses a language other than English at home.

“Improving the educational experience for these kids will improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians,” said Whittenberg. “Education is the way we prepare students to be leaders of tomorrow, and we owe it to them – and to ourselves – to do the best job we can.”

By expanding professional development and academic intervention programs, the report finds, North Carolina can improve quality of instruction in a way that is both practical and affordable.

“English language learners have some of the worst educational outcomes,” said Whittenberg, “but even in these difficult economic times, we can use forward-thinking strategies to help all our children learn more effectively.”

Click here to read the full report.

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