Young children who are English language learners face added obstacles to acquiring basic literacy skills. With about a quarter of the under-18 population either themselves immigrants or with at least one foreign-born parent, this challenge is a rapidly growing one for early caregivers and teachers. A new report from the New America Foundation’s Maggie Severns, “Starting Early with English Language Learners: First Lessons from Illinois,” looks at the complex policy challenges states face in serving a growing population of young English language learners. It uses Illinois, a state with rigorous new pre-K standards for English language learners, as a case study.
In this podcast, we talk with Maggie Severns about her findings and recommendations for states. Our conversation touches on the development of pre-K ELL policies in Illinois. We also explore strategies for ensuring English language learners aren’t left behind in the early years, disadvantaging them throughout the early grades of elementary school and beyond.