The number of English language learners (ELLs) may be increasing in the United States, but a new article from Education Week says teachers aren't finding a corresponding growth in the educational materials. According to teachers interviewed for the piece, there are a variety of needs, from embedded phonics to grade- and age-level appropriate content, but the number one need is quality, effective resources. Overall, the main viewpoint appears to be that ELL materials are an afterthought rather than fully developed curricula.
"Publishing companies are very often focused on the core and general education, and ELL becomes a supplement," said Farah Assiraj, a teacher at Boston International High School. "There's linked-in support, and you see handbooks that go along with [the curriculum], but they haven't been intentional."
As pointed out in the article by Jay Diskey, Executive Director of the AAP PreK-12 Learning Group, sometimes the issue isn't that the materials don't exist, but the schools don't have money to buy them. "It's not so much that it's not available from publishers, it's just not available in the schools," he said. "The school hasn't made a purchase due to funding. We heard a lot of this during the recession." Diskey also cited the recent California materials adoption, which required that certain materials combine the English/language arts and English-language-development standards, as an example of progress.
Read "Quality Learning Materials Are Scarce for English-Language Learners," by Liana Heitin, Education Week (May 11, 2016)