http://www.dianeravitch.com/ This is a link to
Dr. Diane Ravitch's web site. She is an acclaimed author on eduction and has
written extensively on the current trends in education. Her current book, The
Death and Life of The Great American School System, is an excellent read.
Recently, the board has discussed the needs of English Learners and the interest in offering foreign languages to students. The most interest of English speaking students has been in Spanish. We can cost effectively offer Spanish instruction to English speaking students by tapping students who are Spanish speakers. This is known as Dual Immersion and is sanctioned by state law. I believe this is a benefit to all students and it is the districts responsiblity to rise to the communities high educational standards. I have included below a document from the California Department of Education, which answers the most frequently asked questions about English Learners and the law. I hope you find this informative.
English Learners in California Frequently Asked Questions (complete document is above "faqs celdt")
California has the most diverse student population in the world,
with more than 100 languages spoken in the homes of those students. Today, our
student population is“majority-minority.” Forty-one percent of our students
speak a language other than English at home, and a quarter of all California public school
students are struggling to learn the English language in
Sadly, too many people view such diversity as a big problem. I
don’t. Instead, I say: Imagine the potential of that diversity in today’s and
tomorrow’s –global economy. If we educate these students well, our state would
not only be able to compete more effectively, but it would be able to lead our
nation and the world economically.
Nearly 1.6 million pupils in the kindergarten
through grade twelve (K-12) public educational system in California, or one in
four, are ELs. This represents almost one-third of the ELs in the nation. ELs
are enrolled in almost every district and in the vast majority of schools in the
state. Approximately 85 percent are Spanish speaking, 2.2 percent are Vietnamese
speaking, and 1.5 percent are Hmong
ELs face the daunting task of learning the
academic curriculum and a new language concurrently. They need to learn English
quickly enough and fluently enough to participate in academic work, and like all
children, learn grade level mathematics, reading/language arts, social studies,
The law governing the educational services for
ELs is varied and consists of both state and federal requirements. Federal law
clearly takes precedence over state law if there is a conflict. Therefore,
districts must ensure that they comply with all federal requirements while also
implementing state requirements. Applicable legal citations referenced are
included in the responses, as
1. Who is
identified as an EL?
An EL is a K-12
student who, based on objective assessment, has not developed listening,
speaking, reading, and writing proficiencies in English sufficient for
participation in the regular school program. These students are sometimes
referred to as Limited English Proficient (LEP). The process for identification
is described in the California English Language Development Test (CELDT)
Assistance Packet for School Districts at
2. What is the
program placement for ELs in California?
An English language classroom is the placement
for ELs in California, unless a parental exception waiver
is granted for an alternative program. There are two types of English language
classrooms: Structured English Immersion (SEI) and English Language Mainstream.
SEI classrooms are designed for students with less than “reasonable fluency”. An
English language mainstream classroom is designed for students with “reasonable
fluency” or a “good working knowledge of English”. Typically, ELs scoring at the
beginning to intermediate levels on the CELDT are considered to have less than
“reasonable fluency” (California Education
Code [EC] Section
An EL shall be transferred from a SEI classroom to an English
language mainstream classroom when the pupil has acquired a reasonable level of
English proficiency (EC 305).
However, at any time, including during the school year, a parent or guardian may
have his or her child moved into an English language mainstream classroom
(California Code of Regulations [CCR], Title 5,
What is SEI?
SEI, also known
as “Sheltered English Immersion”, is an English language acquisition process for
young children in which nearly all classroom instruction is in English, but with
curriculum and presentation designed for children who are learning the language
includes: (1) English language development (ELD) appropriate to each student’s
level of English proficiency, (2) content instruction utilizing specially
designed academic instruction in English (SDAIE) whenever needed for full access
to the core, and (3) may include primary language support. Usually, SEI is for
ELs scoring at the beginning through intermediate levels on CELDT.
4. Must all ELs be enrolled in an SEI program for one
ELs who lack reasonable fluency in English, as defined by the district, must be placed in a
SEI program unless their parent/guardian requests placement in an English
language mainstream classroom or is granted a parental exception waiver for an
alternative program. Of course, all ELs must receive additional and appropriate
educational services until they are reclassified (EC
305, CCR, Title 5, sections 11301
5. May EL students be re-enrolled in a SEI
Yes. An English learner may be re-enrolled in a structured English program not normally
intended to exceed one year if the pupil has not achieved a reasonable level of
English proficiency unless the parents or guardians of the pupil object to the
extended placement (CCR, Title 5, section
What is a Dual Language Program or Two-Way Immersion
Two-way immersion programs integrate language minority students (ELs) and
language majority students (English speakers) in order to develop their
bilingualism and biliteracy in English and another language. In two-way
programs, the model selected generally prescribes the amount of time spent in
the target (non-English) language. Dual Language Program or Two-Way Immersion
Program is one of the instructional delivery approaches under the alternative
program. For more information, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/el/ip.
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