As the fastest growing student population in the United States, English Language Learners provide an unique source of cultures and languages that will enrich our nation’s K-12 learning communities and provide the necessary energy and creativity to shape our democracy.

However, the achievement gap between English Language Learners (ELL), many who are United States citizens, and their monolingual peers is 40% in both reading and math and has remained constant for over a decade. Exacerbating the problem is the lack of teachers who are trained and certified to work with this culturally and linguistically diverse group. 

According to national studies:

  • Most general education teachers have at least one ELL student in their classroom, but only 29.5 percent of those teachers receive professional development in working with ELLs. (Source)
  • Only 20 states require that all teachers have some training in working with ELLs, and these requirements are different state to state. (Source)
  • Teachers working with ELLs are primarily members of a monolingual English-speaking group. (Source)
“There is no achievement gap at birth.”
— Lisa Delpit, "Multiplication Is for White People": Raising Expectations for Other People's Children