Pre-Kindergarten to 12th Grade with Miriam Chesner
Students caregivers have identified them as coming from homes where English is not the first language. ‘English learners’ bring rich cultural, linguistic, and academic resources to schools and classrooms throughout the United States. That’s according to Miriam Chesner, a New York University graduate. Now based in New Jersey and who holds a Master’s degree in English. English is Miriam Chesner’s second language.
Furthermore, a recent study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an organization focused on improving the well-being of American children. Reported that last year, approximately 22% of children in the U.S. spoke a language other than English when at home. The study also found that the number of students considered ‘English learners’ is growing in many states. Most notably including Georgia and Maryland.
“English learners are defined as students coming from homes where English is not the primary language. Or who are deemed not to be fully proficient in English,” explains New Jersey-based Miriam Chesner. “It is important to remember,” she continues, “that English learner is not a homologous group, but differ across regions and backgrounds of students.”
New Jersey-based Miriam Chesner takes a look at recent increased focus surrounding ‘pre-k to 12’ English language studies in the U.S.
According to Chesner, while some English learners may recently arrive newcomers, such as immigrants, or refugees, the majority were born in the United States. Figures from the National Center for Education Statistics reveal that the percentage of public school students in the U.S. considered English learners grew steadily from 9.1 percent—or 4.3 million students—a decade ago, to 9.4 percent—or 4.6 million students—today.
“Pre-kindergarten to 12 English learners in particular benefit,” says Chesner, “from native language maintenance, plus specialized instruction in key areas of the English language, as well as the characteristics of the forms of language used in school settings for academic purposes.”
A key subgroup of pre-kindergarten to 12 English learner students includes those who, despite English language education, often over a period of several years, remain non-fluent in English. “This subgroup,” explains Chesner, “is referred to by the Center for Applied Linguistics as ’emergent bilinguals.'”
As of 2018, as part of English learner accountability requirements and the Every Student Succeeds Act. Reporting the number of English learners is a state requirement. Those who have not attained English language proficiency within five years. Coupled with enrolling into a local educational agency. Regulated by the federal government.
They must also report on the more detailed academic progress of these students, according to Chesner. “New and updated policies serve to highlight the importance of providing English language educators. Including up-to-date knowledge surrounding, instruction, and accountability. In conclusion, any issues related to English learner students,” she adds, wrapping up.