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Are english learners neglected in early education?

February 12, 2015
English Language LearnersOutcomes
Suzanne Gamboa
NBC News

In San Antonio’s Harlandale school district, pre-kindergarten students learn English and Spanish together. They help one another through instructions and assist each other in the language they are most familiar with, a structure that they’ll stick with until they reach sixth grade. Similar programs can be found in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere as more and more parents want their children to speak more than one language. But as children under 5 are increasingly Latinos with Spanish spoken at home, such pre-K programs are becoming more vital.

Surprisingly though, when policies surrounding early education are discussed – as they increasingly are – there is limited focus on young children who are expanding their vocabularies in general, while learning to do so in more than one language, said Conor Williams, a senior researcher at New America Education Policy Program.