The Education Commission of the States convened a group of national experts to reflect on available research, practice and state policy around the topic of English language learners (ELLs) and to make recommendations in areas where potential impact at the state level is the greatest. The policy recommendations they suggested during the meeting are summarized in this report. Most state policy and education leaders are keenly aware that the number of English language learners (ELLs) enrolled in the United States' public schools has increased significantly over the past several years and will likely continue to increase. 1 States with historically large populations of English language learners like California and New Mexico continue serving significant numbers of ELLs. Other states like Hawaii, Kansas and Nevada have seen substantial increases in the percentage of ELLs in their schools. 2 There is increasing national and state attention to this issue and state policy leaders are committed to creating education systems that meet ELL needs and provide them with solid academic foundations. In December 2014, the Education Commission of the States (ECS) convened a group of experts to reflect on available research, practice and state policy around this topic and to make recommendations in areas where potential impact at the state level is greatest (see the Appendix for a full list of the national experts who attended this meeting). At this meeting, experts discussed five key policy elements: Finance, Identification and reclassification, Educator quality, Pre-kindergarten services, Parent and family engagement. The policy recommendations they suggested during the meeting are summarized in this report. Accompanying this report, ECS also published an ELL database with an overview of multiple state policies affecting ELLs across and within states.
Teacher Qualifications and Certification
State and Local Policy
Home Environment and Language Practices
English Learner Identification
Early Childhood Education