The Delusional Ways We Evaluate English Learners

And how to fix it

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Media Outlet: The Hechinger Report

Janie Carnock wrote for the Hechinger Report about ways the education system can address the achievement gaps experienced by English Learners:

Around 5 million children in U.S. schools are learning English as a new language, about one in ten students. English learners represent the fastest-growing student group nationwide. More than ever, education leaders must design policies and instructional practices to best support these students.
Kentucky is at the forefront of this challenge. From 2000 to 2010, the demographics in the Bluegrass State shifted dramatically: the number of English learners grew a whopping 306 percent.
And yet, as a recent Hechinger Report article recently highlighted, the state’s data systems make it extremely difficult to distill a clear picture of what is working with English learners. You can’t diagnose or treat a problem that you can’t see.


Janie Tankard Carnock is a policy analyst with the Education Policy program at New America. She is a member of the Dual Language Learner National Work Group. Her work addresses policies and practices related to bilingual education, English language proficiency, and educational equity.