Thursday, August 02, 2007

California's Lost Students

Joanne Jacobs pens a column for Reason Foundation on how many English Language Learners do not learn to read and write in California schools.

As the Sacramento Bee recently reported based on demographic projections announced by the state Department of Finance, California's economic future could well be shaped by the success -- or setbacks -- of Hispanics, the coming majority population.

By 2050, likely most of California's largely white baby boomers will have died, giving way to younger, second- or third-generation Hispanic families. Hispanics are forecast to make up 52 percent of the state's population by midcentury. The rest will be 26 percent white, 13 percent Asian, 5 percent African American, 2 percent multiracial and 1 percent American Indian or Pacific islander.

In light of these demographic changes, Joanne Jacobs column on how English Language Learners are often held back in classes with lower expectations for financial gain is even more disturbing.

At, Joanne Jacobs writes, "Only 60 percent of EL [English learning] students who began school in California as kindergartners will be reclassified as proficient by seventh grade, estimates a study by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office...After 10 years in California schools, less than 40 percent of English learners will be reclassified as proficient." Jacobs details the perverse incentives that keep schools from educating and promoting students who are learning English.

Please check out Joanne Jacobs on California's Lost Students

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