U.S. students who speak a language other than English at home and are still learning English have received scant support from the federal Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan. That is the take-away of the report “Opportunity Lost: The Promise of Equal and Effective Education for Emerging Bilingual Students in the Obama Administration” published this month by the BUENO National Policy Center for Bilingual & Multicultural Education at the University of Colorado.
The BUENO National Policy Center carried out a review of the policies and programs of the Education Department, according to Director Jorge Garcia, because “Emerging Bilingual Students are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. school population. The quality of education they receive will significantly influence our nation’s future success.”
The report cites the major failures as:
• When the administration dispersed to K-12 schools nearly $80 billion in ARRA stimulus money, “not one dollar” allotted to the federal program which supports Emerging Bilingual students and schools experiencing a recent increase in immigrant student enrollment, Title III of the ESEA.
• It took more than a year and a half for the Education Department to name the first OELA director, and when she stepped down, it took nearly another year to name Libia S. Gil, the current director.
• The shortage of qualified teachers is the result of the department lack of effort to increase the supply of teachers to work with English-learners., unlike its push to train 100,000 teachers in the STEM subjects.
• The result of federal waivers from some requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act is that, in many states, the actual performance of ELLs is masked.
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