English Learners: Foundational Elements of Support

Though statistics show that children who are able to Reclassify as Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) achieve at or above the same academic level as those who are English Only learners, the same data show that those who fall in to the Long Term English Learner (LTEL) category achieve well below the academic level of English Only learners. With English Learner supports being mandated from the federal level, all are obligated to offer such supports. Despite that fact, it is left to each state, district, and school to decide what supports they offer and how those supports are delivered. This has given freedom to creativity and as such English Learners (EL) have both suffered and benefited by that creativity or lack thereof. While one can research and see that there a great many strategies, systems, and practices that fully support EL students, it is hard for educators at all levels to know which of all are the most crucial to ensuring an equitable educational experience. This article uncovers that the three elements of: (1) Consistency of language acquisition learning experiences and practices (2) Congruency between the amount of time dedicated to ELD and a learner’s acquisition of the language and (3) Congruency between the time it takes to reclassify and a learner’s likelihood to do so - as foundational to the support of EL students.