WASHINGTON (WPRI) – More help could soon be on the way for English language learners struggling with distance learning, thanks to a letter co-written by Rep. Jim Langevin.
Langevin, D-Rhode Island, and Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-New York, sent a letter to House leadership asking for additional support for English learners (ELs) in future COVID-19 relief legislation.
The letter, signed by 27 other representatives, requests an additional $1 billion for Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The letter notes that amid the COVID-19 public health crisis, approximately 5 million English learners, who account for 10% of all public-school students, face greater challenges that could hold them back in school.
There has been federal support for students who have had to move to distance learning. The CARES Act includes $13.5 billion to support states with the transition.
However, the authors note that “given the many competing educational priorities states contend with, we believe that dedicated funding beyond what was provided in CARES is necessary to adequately address the challenges ELs face.”
While the English learner student population continues to grow, assessments show those students often lag behind their peers in math and reading proficiency levels, according to the 2017 National Assessment of Education Progress.
Data from the U.S. Department of Education also shows nationwide, the high school graduation rate for English language learners is lower than students whose first language is English.
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