Tracking the Enrollment of Dual Language Learners in Early Ed

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Janie T. Carnock
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07-03-2018 3:53 PM
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To serve young dual language learners (DLLs) equitably, early care and education (ECE) leaders must first have data on who these children are. As DLL researcher Alexandra Figueras-Daniel recently wrote, Without consistency on even the identification of who is a DLL and who is not, states cannot determine clear-cut policies to support these children in a systematic way| Data on enrollment [are] crucial if states are to make sound decisions about how and where to allocate resources supporting DLLs. At a system level, even this basic level of information is a challenge for many states to pin down. In part, this difficulty reflects the nature of ECE as a sector. In contrast to K-12 public education, ECE is fragmented across a variety of funding streams and settings, including child care centers, home-based care, Head Start, and state pre-K programs. This reality, which some have compared to a patchwork quilt, adds extra layers of complexity for streamlining and coordinating policy efforts. Federal policy, for example, has increasingly clarified expectations for states to identify and collect information about English learners (ELs) enrolled in elementary and secondary schools. Though far from perfect, every state must establish one policy to determine which students qualify to receive extra language servicesones that ELs are entitled to by civil rights laws governing K-12 education. Typically, upon registration for public school, families receive a home language survey that enables schools to identify a pool of potential ELs. The school then screens these students using a standardized language assessment. If a student scores below a state's benchmark on the test, they are formally classified as an EL. Federal policy also mandates that states track data on the number of classified ELs.
State and Local Policy
English Learners
English Learners
Dual Language Programs