Despite their increasing share of the U.S. student body, English learners (ELs) have long been underserved and marginalized in our nation’s schools. Too often, states and school districts have treated ELs’ linguistic diversity as an obstacle or liability to be overcome. This monolingual, English-only approach has stripped many of these students of their emerging bilingualism and failed to set them up for academic or professional success.
EL students deserve substantial increases in federal funding targeted to meet their distinct strengths and needs. It’s time for federal policies that shift from an English-only framework to a fully bilingual and biliterate approach.