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Why Mass. Is Making A Third Attempt At Reforming English Language Ed

Amaya Garciawas quoted in NPR-affiliate WBURabout trends for English learner populations and programs. 

Here as elsewhere, most ELL students are clustered in the early grades. Students are expected to be more or less English-proficient by the time they get to high school, says Amaya Garcia, a senior researcher at the D.C.-based New America Foundation.
If you’re still classed as ELL in grades 9 through 12, Garcia says it’s likely that "you’ve just hit a wall" in language acquisition — possibly exacerbated by a learning disability — "or you’re a fairly recent arrival."
So high school ELL students are at particular risk, and the data show that many of them aren't thriving in Massachusetts.
[...] 

These gaps shouldn’t be surprising, says researcher Garcia. Imagine coming to the United States for the first time as a teenager with little English: "You have to build up a lot of proficiency, and you may be coming from a place where you haven’t received a lot of formal education, so there’s a lot of back content to fill in. It’s not an easy prospect."