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New Resource Provides a Landscape View of the Achievements and Obstacles For English Learners in California and Recommendations for Policy Makers

LONG BEACH, CA – June 12, 2024 – Today, Californians Together released the inaugural The State of English Learners in California Public Schools—a report that dives deep into a variety of data sources to answer questions about who our state’s 1.1 million English learners are, how they are being served in the education system, and what state and local leaders can do to better serve their needs. 

From the end of an English-centric approach to educating students to the ongoing efforts to implement the California English Learner Roadmap, much has changed in the way schools and school leaders relate to multilingual students. For twenty-five years, Californians Together has advocated statewide for improved policies that uplift English learners and support those who serve them. 

In this report, Californians Together summarize key demographic and outcome data for English learners. It highlights the significant work ahead of educators, advocates, and policy makers to ensure that California’s education system provides access for all current and former English learners and sets a vision for the outcomes that our system should produce by the end of this decade.  

“Using state data and survey data, we hope to paint a picture of what it means to be an English learner in California.This includes shining a light on the different English learner typologies, including long-term English learners and newcomers. We felt that it was important to tie our findings to ambitious state goals such as those under Global California 2030 to illustrate that more work needs to be done to fully realize a future in which multilingualism is celebrated and all students have full access to a well-rounded and quality education,” said report author and Californians Together Policy Director Manuel Buenrostro.

The report is broken down into seven sections that are aligned with the principles of the California English Learner Roadmap. Sections highlight student demographics and typologies, academic outcomes, metrics related to expanding multilingualism through program development and the state Seal of Biliteracy, access to rigorous coursework, data related to holistically supporting the whole child needs, access to prepared educators, and accountability. The report concludes with six recommendations to improve policies statewide and locally. 

Key amongst the recommendations is a call for state leaders to set ambitious and clear goals for EL outcomes and for more data to be readily available that can allow education leaders better understand what progress looks like around the seven focus areas of the report.  

“We no longer need to convince education leaders that supporting students’ home languages and assets are central to their educational attainment—the research is clear. Similarly, this report lays out the data to help advocates and families understand a fuller picture of what life is like for our state’s English learners. We will revisit the data to gain a better understanding of how legislation and ambitious policies are actually impacting students in the classroom and beyond. Today is a great day for Californians Together and anyone who is dedicated to improving outcomes and experiences for English learners”, said Martha Hernandez, Executive Director of Californians Together.

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Californians Together is a statewide advocacy coalition of powerful organizations from all segments of  the education community including teachers, administrators, board members, parents, and civil rights  non-profit groups. Our member organizations come together around the goal of better educating 1.1  million English learners by improving California’s schools and promoting equitable educational policy.