By Kevin Mahnken
Because in Some States, 1 in 5 Students Is an English Language Learner.
There is a persistent shortage of dual-language teachers as the number of English language learners in American schools continues to rise. While a number of districts have looked to the short-term solution of hiring from Spanish-speaking countries like Spain and Mexico, two new papers from New America highlight recommendations for how to incubate bilingual talent stateside.
Roughly 5 million K-12 students in the United States are classified as ELLs, specifically targeted for assistance in achieving English proficiency. That accounts for about 1 in every 10 American schoolchildren, the great majority of them children of Spanish-speaking immigrants. And although they are sometimes assumed to be clustered in states like California, Texas, and Florida, tens of thousands have also trekked to the Pacific Northwest.