by Karen Meaney
June 16, 2017
U.S. school districts are educating students speaking a variety of languages, and PreK-12 educators in those districts have concerns about the breadth and quality of education resources available for their students. Information on this as well as enrollment and demographic trends can be found in Simba Information's new report, PreK-12 Enrollment & Demographics, 2017-2018.
The number of students who are English-language learners has increased from 4.3 million students, or 9.1% of the PreK-12 public school population, in 2004-2005 to 4.6 million students, or 9.4% of PreK-12 students, in 2014-2015, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.
Spanish is by far the language spoken by the most ELL students-3.7 million students or 77.1% of the ELL population come from Spanish-speaking homes. However, there are also new languages in the mix. For example, the mumber of students reporting their home language was Nepali more than quadrupled from 3,200 in 2008-2009 to 14,400 in 2014-2015.
Educators at the Austin (TX) ISD said commercial educational resource providers are falling short in providing instructional materials in multiple languages. Austin has 23,000 English language learners speaking more than 100 languages.
Language arts supervisor Claire Alvarado said not many education resources are available in languages beyond Spanish, and many Spanish instructional materials are not high quality. With a large Spanish-speaking student population, Austin would like education resources written originally in Spanish, not just translations.
The Richland (SC) school district did not enroll many Hispanic students until recent years; now finding education resources for a growing Hispanic student population is a challenge for teachers, according to Chuck Holland, director of technology integration.
Open educational resource provider Curriki is one of the organizations looking to respond to the need for more Spanish resources in PreK-12 education, issuing a call in June for high-quality Spanish-language content for its new Beta Spanish-language site.
For PreK-12 education resource providers looking to address new needs of a changing student population, a good source of information is Simba Information's June 2017 report, PreK-12 Enrollment & Demographics, 2017-2018.
PreK-12 Enrollment & Demographics, 2017-2018 provides an overview and examines PreK-12 education enrollment trends and demographics in the U.S. It provides the most recent information available on how many school districts and how many schools there are in the U.S., including how many public schools are charter schools. There is public and private school enrollment data, broken down by elementary and secondary school. Data on charter school enrollment is broken out, with trends over time shown. Information is also provided on the growing numbers of PreK-12 students being homeschooled and students being educated at virtual schools and blended schools.
Data is provided on subgroups of students, including preschool students, students in poverty, students with disabilities and English-language learners.
The main source of the compiled data is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.
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