A growing population of English-language learners presents educational publishers with an opportunity to provide them with materials to advance their learning. There were 4.8 million ELLs in 2015-2016, up from 4.6 million in 2014-2016, according the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education.
Spanish speakers (3.7 million) dominate as they account for more than three-quarters of the ELL students and 7.6% of all K-12 public school students. There also were more than 100,000 students who came to the classroom speaking Arabic and more than 100,000 speaking Chinese.
Between fall 2014 and fall 2015, Russia jumped into the top 10 list of ELL languages with 33,057 students being Russian speakers in 2015. ELL students who speak Korean fell from the 10th-largest group to #11, declining from 28,530 in fall 2014 to 27,268 in fall 2015.
As schools become more diverse—with some large districts reporting more than 100 different languages spoken—educators report they cannot find enough resources for some ELL students.
For PreK-12 educational publishers looking to address the spectrum of needs of a changing student body, a good source of information is Simba Information's June 2018 report, PreK-12 Enrollment and Demographics, 2018-2019 https://www.simbainformation.com/PreK-Enrollment-Demographics-11725800/.
PreK-12 Enrollment & Demographics, 2018-2019 covers national and state enrollment trends and demographics in the U.S. It includes the most recent information available on how many school districts and how many schools there are, including how many public schools are charter schools. There is public and private school enrollment data, broken down by elementary and secondary school. Information also is provided on the number of PreK-12 students being homeschooled, students being educated at virtual schools and blended schools, and on the youngest learners enrolled in preschool.
The main source of the compiled data is the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.