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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
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1

Introduction

Educating children and youth who are dual language learners (DLLs) or English learners (ELs) effectively is a national challenge with consequences for both individuals and society at large. (The essential distinction between DLLs and ELs is that the latter term refers to children and youth in the pre-K to 12 education system; see Box 1-1 for detailed definitions.) ELs account for more than 9 percent of the 2013-2014 K-12 enrollment in American schools (National Center for Education Statistics, 2016). Despite their linguistic, cognitive, and social potential, many of them are struggling to meet the requirements for academic success, a challenge that jeopardizes their prospects in postsecondary education and the workforce (National Center for Education Statistics, 2015; Office of English Language Acquisition, 2016).

A defining characteristic of DLLs/ELs is their demographic diversity. They are members of every major racial/ethnic group and include both U.S.- and foreign-born youth. Most come from Latin America and Asia, with Mexico being their leading country of origin. They speak a wide range of languages, including Chinese, French Creole, Fulani, Korean, and Spanish, as well as other languages spoken in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world, including variations of these languages—regional dialects and Cuban-Spanish, for example. DLL/ELs are highly concentrated in traditional immigrant destinations such as California and Texas. However, they increasingly live in new destination states, such as North Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, which are not prepared to meet the needs of the growing number of ELs in their schools. Relative to other populations

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

of children and youth, DLLs/ELs are far more likely to live in poverty and in two-parent families with low levels of education.

The purpose of this report is to examine how scientific evidence relevant to the development of DLLs/ELs from birth to age 21 can inform education and health policy and related practices that can result in better educational outcomes. The Statement of Task for the study is presented in Box 1-2.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
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STUDY APPROACH

The study committee comprised 19 members with expertise in assessment; demography; early, elementary, and secondary education; linguistics; neurosciences; preparation of educators; psychology; public health; public policy; sociology; and special education (see Appendix A for biosketches of the committee members). The committee met six times in person, held two public information-gathering sessions, and conducted two site visits to school districts in urban and suburban areas in the western and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

The first public session included panel presentations focused on demog-

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

raphy and data collection, policies, effective classroom practices, and growing up as a DLL/EL. The second public session included panel presentations of educators and parents of DLLs/ELs and addressed the preparation of educators and out-of-school-time programs for DLLs/ELs. The site visits encompassed classroom observations; focus groups; and interviews with students, teachers, school administrators, parents, and support personnel.

The committee conducted an extensive critical review of the literature pertaining to the development and education of DLLs/ELs published after release of the report Improving Schooling for Language Minority Children: A Research Agenda (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 1997). This review began with an English language search of online databases, including ERIC, Scopus, PsycInfo, and Web of Science. Committee members and project staff used online searches to identify additional literature and other resources. Attention was given to consensus and position statements issued by relevant experts and professional organizations. Research reports in peer-reviewed journals of the disciplines relevant to this study received priority. In the process of reviewing the literature, the committee members engaged in interdisciplinary and interprofessional discussions to achieve consensus where possible.

This report also builds on several recent publications of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, most notably The Integration of Immigrants into American Society (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2015). Box 1-3 lists those reports.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

The committee’s research and deliberations led to the formulation of five guiding principles that provide a framework for this report (see

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

Box 1-4). These principles relate to policy contexts, capacity, culture and social organizations, the importance of early experience, and complexity and cascades. Empirical support for these principles is incorporated throughout the report.

Policy Contexts

Federal and state policies, from their inception, have influenced the educational opportunities and experiences of DLLs/ELs (see Chapter 2).

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on statutory protections regarding ELs regardless of their national origins on the basis of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which led to the Court’s unanimous decision affirming appropriate actions to remedy educational inequalities in the K-12 grades. While explicitly stated for K-12 students,1 these protections apply to all federally funded programs, including Head Start and home visiting programs, and therefore apply to all DLLs and ELs in those programs.

As these programs have been reformed over successive reauthorizations, issues regarding how effectively they meet the needs of DLLs and ELs have arisen. The needs of these children and youth are addressed by multiple federal policies (e.g., the Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA], the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA]) and programs (e.g., general education, special education, bilingual education). States, and especially local school districts, implement federal policies aimed at improving professional development for educators and leaders to impart the skills and strategies required to address the needs of DLLs/ELs, make sense of contradictory or conflicting guidelines and policies across policy realms, and

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1Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974).

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
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resolve tensions in programmatic decisions and plans that cut across both general and special education.

Capacity

Language lies at the center of all human development. DLLs face the promises and challenges associated with learning both a home or primary language (L1) and English (L2).2 Those who become proficient in the two languages are likely to reap benefits in cognitive, social, and emotional development (Halle et al., 2014) and also may be protected from brain decline at older ages (Bak et al., 2014; Bialystok, 2011; Bialystok et al., 2012). Conversely, those who do not acquire the English skills needed to succeed in school may lag behind their peers educationally and may face barriers to full civic participation and professional advancement in a global economy.

The achievement of proficiency in English need not occur at the expense of DLLs’/ELs’ continued development of L1. Children who lose their L1 in the course of acquiring English may risk their connections to their families and cultures, in addition to forfeiting the benefits of fluent bilingualism. Consequently, with the understanding that strong English skills are essential for educational success in the United States, a goal of this report is to identify factors that support the development of children’s skills in both L1 and L2.

A growing body of evidence indicates that young children can attain proficiency in more than one language provided they have sufficient language input. Children enter the world with powerful learning mechanisms that enable them to acquire two languages from birth without difficulty (see Chapter 4) and with potential benefits. The expression of this capacity for dual language learning, however, is critically dependent on early language experiences (e.g., Saffran, 2014) within families and communities and on the programs available to children before they enter school. Acknowledgment of children’s early capacity to learn two or more languages recognizes that bi/multilingualism is a natural human attribute, exemplified in many countries throughout the world (e.g., European Commission, 2006). Indeed, the majority of the world’s population is bi- or multilingual (Marian and Shook, 2012).

Culture and Social Organizations

As noted above, language learning is a socially embedded process that takes place within families, cultural communities, and other social

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2 The terms “L1” and “L2” are used throughout this report to refer to a child’s first and second language, respectively.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
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institutions. Like learning in other domains, it is a cultural phenomenon constituted by the interacting influences of individual, interpersonal, and institutional dimensions (García and Markos, 2015). Understanding this intersection between the individual and the environment is important to fostering development and learning, not only with respect to the language learning of DLLs/ELs, but also more broadly. Individuals use their language skills and capacities in the contexts of social relationships and cultural norms that are always embedded in institutional environments—families, communities, schools, youth organizations, and peer groups. Thus, understanding and addressing the social learning contexts of DLLs/ELs transcends an exclusive focus on language.

Importance of Early Experience

Research points to the importance of early experience in language learning and in particular, the ways in which early L1 development can promote learning English (L2) in DLLs/ELs. Three lines of research support this notion. First, research on brain development indicates that relatively more neural brain plasticity exists in infancy and early childhood than at later stages of development and that early language experiences shape brain development in significant ways. At the same time, early stages of brain development shape children’s capacity for language learning (see Chapter 4). Second, studies on the age of acquisition in learning a second language indicate greater proficiency in children who are exposed to L2 before 3 years of age (or at least by the end of kindergarten) than in those exposed at later ages (De Houwer, 2011; Dupoux et al., 2010; Meisel, 2011; Ortiz-Mantilla et al., 2010). Third, studies in early education and economics show that investments in early childhood education can enhance overall well-being and academic outcomes for DLLs who speak Spanish (Barnett et al., 2007; Burchinal et al., 2015; Durán et al., 2010; García and García, 2012; García and Jensen, 2009; Gormley, 2008; Gormley et al., 2008; Han, 2008).

Complexity and Cascades

Language is a complex and dynamic system (e.g., De Bot et al., 2007), and language acquisition involves the integration of perceptual, lexical, grammatical, semantic, and sociocultural knowledge. Development in these components of language acquisition is affected by interrelated factors—ranging from biology; to social interactions with family members, teachers, and peers; to policies in schools. Variation in these factors may explain the striking individual differences in language and other skills seen among DLLs/ELs, while also offering a wide range of opportunities for promoting language learning.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

KEY CHALLENGES FOR POLICY AND PRACTICE

This section identifies the key challenges that can impact the language development and educational attainment of DLLs/ELs, as well as factors that may constrain potential solutions to these challenges.

A Wide Achievement Gap

A large educational achievement and attainment gap exists between ELs and their monolingual English peers (e.g., National Center for Education Statistics, 2015). In 2015, for example, the reading achievement gap between non-EL and EL students was 36 points at the 4th-grade level and 44 points at the 8th-grade level (Office of English Language Acquisition, 2016). In 2013-2014, the 4-year adjusted cohort high school graduation rate for ELs was 63 percent—far lower than the rate for students living in low-income families (75%); in that same period, the overall high school graduation rate was 82 percent (National Center for Education Statistics, 2015).

Many of these disparities are driven not only by limited knowledge of English but also by the same factors that lead to lower rates of achievement in other groups of students, such as poverty and underresourced schools. Relative to their non-EL peers, ELs live in families with higher rates of poverty and lower rates of parental education. They also are disproportionately concentrated in schools with limited resources and relatively high concentrations of ELs and low-income students (Adair, 2015; Carhill et al., 2008; Gándara and Rumberger, 2008). As a result, ELs face a number of barriers to educational success and a lack of learning opportunities that go beyond their English proficiency.

Limited proficiency in English also poses a high barrier to academic learning and performance in schools where English is the primary language of instruction and assessment. As discussed in greater depth in Chapter 9, a disparity exists between professional standards for assessing EL students and the way in which assessment of ELs at the individual student and system levels is actually conducted. Chapter 8 reviews this disparity for DLLs/ELs with disabilities and the potential consequences for misclassification.

The Federal Role in the ESSA Era

Although provisions of the 2015 ESSA are aimed at returning decision-making authority around accountability to states, the federal government continues to play an important role in the education of ELs. One important federal role is to protect the civil rights of ELs, as required by court

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

decisions such as Lau v. Nichols3 and federal statutes such as the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act4 and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.5 Legal actions, however, must be initiated by local actors, and are both costly and lengthy.

Under ESSA, although states have flexibility in how elements of accountability index systems are weighted, states are now required to report on English language proficiency as part of ESSA Title I accountability6 in addition to standardizing procedures for assessing proficiency within states. Because English language proficiency is assessed only for students who have EL status, and the numbers of those students vary significantly across schools, the ways in which those assessments are accomplished are likely to vary significantly. Theoretically, there could be as many different accountability plans as there are states—a concern for the civil rights community, which has traditionally relied on federal mechanisms to ensure the equity guaranteed by federal laws.

Considerations of Cost and Scalability

Although it is difficult to draw causal conclusions about policy impacts, the academic failure rates of the nation’s ELs indicate that many current policies prevent these children and youth from reaching their full potential. These poor outcomes impose large costs on ELs, their families, and society as a whole. Several economic impact studies have quantified the societal economic burdens associated with failing to invest in and successfully educate American children and youth who face substantial barriers to success (e.g., Belfield et al., 2012; Heckman, 2006). According to these studies, the greatest cost associated with society’s failure to help young people reach their full potential tends to come in the form of lost lifetime earnings and the associated tax revenues (e.g., Belfield et al., 2012; Heckman, 2006). This cost may be particularly high in the case of the inadequate education of ELs, given that the nation is missing an opportunity to cultivate fully biliterate, productive members of the workforce. ELs begin school with a linguistic asset that, if further developed, could lead to higher labor market returns and social outcomes than are now realized (e.g., Gándara and Hopkins, 2010).

Many policies and practices could be revised to improve the education of ELs, thereby increasing their economic value to society, as well as the

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3Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974).

4 Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d, et seq.

5 Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (EEOA), Section 1703(f).

6 A summary of EL assessment final regulations as of early 2017 under ESSA can be found at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/essaassessmentfactsheet1207.pdf [February 23, 2017].

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

quality of their lives. In formulating its recommendations for improving current policies and practices relative to DLLs/ELs, the committee considered the resource implications of the proposed reforms. The Great Recession during the late 2000s substantially threatened the fiscal stability of the United States and the rest of the world, and while the U.S. economy is on the mend, resources remain constrained. And although many state budgets have modestly improved since the Great Recession, they, too, are constrained, consumed in particular by the rising costs of health care (National Association of State Budget Officers, 2015). As resources are allocated, therefore, policy makers and program administrators will increasingly be required to document the costs of various interventions and, where possible, weigh those costs against the anticipated benefits.

The issue of determining the appropriate level of resources and funding for pre-K to 12 education has received a great deal of attention in the research, policy, and legal communities (for reviews, see Downes and Stiefel, 2008; Koski and Hahnel, 2007). Very little of this research and policy discussion has focused on the incremental costs associated with the education of ELs in particular (Jimenez-Castellanos and Topper, 2012). Indeed, documenting those costs is difficult, and many schools and districts fail to keep careful records on the portion of expenditures designated for EL-specific education (e.g., Report on Arizona by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 2005). Even when careful cost records are available, determining the appropriate or adequate level of funding is challenging.

In addition to cost considerations, reformers will face challenges when programs and policies are brought to scale with large and varied populations in different settings. Evaluating the implementation and scalability of policy reforms is now considered good practice (Schneider and McDonald, 2007).

Competing Beliefs About Dual Language Learning

One of the greatest challenges in the education of DLLs/ELs is the opposing views held by society at large and by many educational and health professionals about whether dual language learning should be supported early in a child’s development and later in classrooms (see Chapters 4, 5, and 7).

One view holds that dual language learning early in a child’s life is burdensome because it exceeds the normal limits of young learners’ capacity (e.g., Baker, 2011; Volterra and Taeschner, 1978). This view leads to either (1) exposing children early in development only to their L1 because exposure to English as an additional language will confuse them, or conversely, (2) exposing children only to English because exposure to their L1 will confuse them and create barriers to their learning English. Both of these

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

alternatives suppress opportunities to develop fluency in two languages early in children’s lives.

The other view is just the opposite—that young children are “hardwired” to learn one or more languages easily and that as a result, nothing needs to be done to promote their language development. The evidence indicating that young children are particularly efficient and effective second language learners has focused primarily on language learning in nonschool settings and has not always considered the complexities of language learning in school contexts. While young children may be within the sensitive period for language learning and have sophisticated learning capacities, the role of exposure and experience is critical (see Chapter 4).

Both of these views, in their extremes, can be detrimental to policies and practices regarding the education of DLLs/ELs.

Competing Assumptions About the Role of Families

Families and home environments are the most salient and enduring contexts in which DLLs learn and develop. Understanding the demographic profiles of DLLs’ families is important for understanding the families as learning contexts, but does not capture the rich processes that both characterize and distinguish how the families foster DLLs’ language development.

Debate is ongoing about the ways in which family poverty may affect children’s language experiences and, in turn, their language development. This debate is relevant to the present discussion given that, as noted above, many DLLs live in low-income households. One school of thought highlights differences in language environments between wealthier families and those who live in poverty (see Chapter 4 for more in-depth discussion). Certainly the early language experiences of children are vital to language learning. However, a focus on group averages (comparing groups of children from low-income families with those from middle- or high-income families) obscures the striking variability in language inputs experienced by children in families from the same income strata, including DLLs living in poverty who are from the same ethnic and language background (Song et al., 2012).

Many researchers have adopted a language socialization lens that considers the cultural forces that affect children’s experiences and development in examining and understanding educational disparities across socioeconomic groups (Miller and Sperry, 2012). According to this perspective, processes related to culture-specific parenting goals, practices, and beliefs and home language and literacy practices related to bilingualism are key aspects of the family that are unique to DLLs (e.g., García and García, 2012; Li et al., 2014).

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

Determining What Constitutes Effective Instructional Policies and Practices

Instructional policies and practices designed to meet the needs of DLLs/ELs can have a positive impact on the overall well-being of these children and youth, as well as their learning outcomes in school (August and Shanahan, 2006; Baker et al., 2014; García and Frede, 2010; Genesee et al., 2006). Children can acquire advanced levels of proficiency in a second language in school when they are presented with appropriate and continuous instruction to that end.

Acquiring proficiency in a second language for academic purposes takes time (see Chapter 6). ELs come to school with the resources of their home language: they have an underlying neural architecture for language, with existing connections between various components, such as how sounds perceived are related to sounds produced; they have a system of concepts on which the language is built; they know that elements of a language (e.g., words) can be combined to make sentences; they know about the referential functions of language, what people might say in various sociocultural situations (e.g., greetings, expressions of appreciation, politeness rituals); and (most important) they have an inclination to read or infer the intentions of others in events and interactions in which they are engaged (Tomasello, 2003). These skills and knowledge constitute a foundation for the acquisition of a second language in school.

One of the most intensely debated aspects of education policy and practice for ELs has centered on the language of classroom instruction (Gándara and Hopkins, 2010). Educators and researchers agree that to succeed in school and participate in civic life in the United States, all children must develop strong English proficiency and literacy skills. The debate centers on the question of how best to support the acquisition of English and the ongoing role of L1 as English skills deepen, the social and cultural costs of losing proficiency in L1, the role of education programs in systematically supporting L1, and community values that may promote English-only approaches. Many practical questions remain around the best methods for promoting English language development while continuing to support multiple home languages in English-only classroom settings. Furthermore, as discussed below, the educator workforce has not been prepared to teach ELs, and addressing educator capacity is a long-term effort (Putman et al., 2016).

Inadequate Preparation of Educators

Given the steady increase in diversity among DLLs/ELs in the U.S. population, a key challenge for educators is understanding the social, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds of the children they serve and creating

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

the conditions of trust and respect necessary for effective instruction (e.g., Loeb et al., 2014). The educational backgrounds of a child’s parents and the social and financial resources available to the family and in the community influence the child’s home learning environment. Children are exposed to and competent in different cultures, languages, and social norms and as a result, may evidence a variety of culturally specific behaviors, languages, and social norms. They may be newcomers to the United States, have had traumatic journeys, have special needs or disabilities, speak more than one language in their home, or have lived in the United States for several generations and have family members who speak little English. Panethnic categories in actuality encompass a wide range of cultural groups with unique identities, migration histories, sociodemographic profiles, language experiences, and prior schooling experiences (see Chapter 3). Educators draw on their own experiences with cross-ethnic relations, language learning, and racialized understandings of U.S. society and may feel unprepared to support the school success of ELs. Chapter 10 reviews what is known about building the workforce to care for and educate DLLs/ELs.

ORGANIZATION OF THE REPORT

The committee was tasked with applying what is known about language development from birth to age 21, reviewing effective educational practices for DLLs/ELs during this age span, and recommending policies and practices that can change the troubling educational trajectories of these children and youth. Chapter 2 addresses the policy changes since the 1960s that have shaped the educational experiences and achievement of DLLs/ELs and suggests what changes are likely under the 2015 ESSA reauthorization. The diverse demographic landscape of the EL population discussed in Chapter 3 magnifies the challenges to educators of providing a good education to all. Chapter 4 focuses on the foundations of and influences on early language development from birth to age 5. A review of promising and effective early care and education practices for DLLs from birth to age 5 follows in Chapter 5.

Chapter 6 focuses on the development of English proficiency for ELs during the K-12 grades. Chapter 7 addresses education for ELs during the pre-K to 12 grades, while Chapter 8 focuses on promising and effective practices in education for ELs in these grades. Chapter 9 reviews promising and effective practices in education for ELs from specific populations, and Chapter 10 addresses DLLs and ELs with disabilities. Chapter 11 examines promising and effective practices in assessment and measurement of the educational progress of DLLs/ELs. The issue of building the workforce to care for and educate DLLs/ELs is considered in Chapter 12. Finally, Chapter 13 presents the committee’s recommendations for policy and practice

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

and outlines a research agenda focused on improving policies and practices to support the educational success of DLLs/ELs.

The report concludes with three appendixes. Appendix A provides the biosketches of committee members and staff; Appendix B lists the state requirements for teacher certification; and Appendix C profiles the population of ELs by state and the number of certified/licensed Title III teachers available to teach those ELs.

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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

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×

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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24677.
×

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Educating dual language learners (DLLs) and English learners (ELs) effectively is a national challenge with consequences both for individuals and for American society. Despite their linguistic, cognitive, and social potential, many ELs—who account for more than 9 percent of enrollment in grades K-12 in U.S. schools—are struggling to meet the requirements for academic success, and their prospects for success in postsecondary education and in the workforce are jeopardized as a result.

Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures examines how evidence based on research relevant to the development of DLLs/ELs from birth to age 21 can inform education and health policies and related practices that can result in better educational outcomes. This report makes recommendations for policy, practice, and research and data collection focused on addressing the challenges in caring for and educating DLLs/ELs from birth to grade 12.

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