According to recent research by the Pew Research Center, “The U.S. Hispanic population accounts for 56 percent of the country’s population growth since 2000…[meaning] that roughly five million of one out of every 10 school children are classified as English language learners.” We know that most ELLs are not immigrants, but many of these students come from homes in which English is not the primary language spoken. As a result, the “potential for them to easily fall behind in school,” rises exponentially.
Mr. Stice quells the notion that ELL populations are limited to certain areas of the country. For example, according to a 2015 study by the Migration Policy Institute, “Washington and Oregon are in the top 10 states that have the highest ELL student density,” even though states such as Texas, California, and Florida seem to have the highest Hispanic populations.
The growth of the ELL population, especially in districts that were not prepared for such a population, demands dual language teachers now more than ever. States such as Oklahoma and Oregon are actively pushing legislation to support more dual language teachers and to develop a school community in which dual language teachers are standard.
As the United States becomes increasingly multilingual, we must have teachers readily available to support the growing population of students who need bilingual education. In TWIN-CS, we not only have dual language teachers, but we provide an educational space that sustains equity and heritage language learning, while promoting the acquisition of English.
Continue to follow the blog for more about bilingual education and changing demographics in the United States!
-Melissa Hoppie, Graduate Student Researcher