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LANGUAGE LEARNERS

Support services are lacking

April 13, 2009
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I COMMEND The Boston Globe for its April 8 editorial "Broken English immersion."

Massachusetts teachers could have told policy makers at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education about the failures of the 2002 ballot question mandating English immersion. Statewide students can sit in classrooms for a whole year not understanding the majority of their instruction.

Many don't even receive any instruction in English as a second language, by the state's own admission. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's annual report to the Legislature on English language acquisition and professional development acknowledges that most English language learners statewide receive no ESL instruction.

The following represents the English language support services received in districts reporting 100 or more ELLs: Approximately 8,200 ELLs receive no ESL instruction; approximately 2,800 ELLs at the lowest levels of English proficiency (beginning and early intermediate) receive no ESL instruction; approximately 5,160 ELLs receive one to five hours per week of ESL instruction.

Without appropriate support services or thoughtful programs to meet the needs of ELLs, it is no wonder that students are not being successful in school.

Margaret Adams
Dedham

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