Frustrated that hundreds of teaching positions go unfilled each year because school districts can’t find qualified candidates, the state education department is planning to propose changes in how someone earns a teaching certificate – a move that is sure to rile those at the state’s teacher-preparation colleges and officials of teachers unions.
One in 14 Connecticut students understand so little English, they are considered English learners, and the state has the largest gap in achievement in the country between its English learners and its English-speaking peers. As part of its recent exploration of issues surrounding English-language learners, the Mirror wanted to hear what these students feel is helping them. Here is what some of them had to say.
“The efforts around English learners are one of our most important priorities,” says state education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell said. “… Our English learners need more support than they are currently getting, and we know that because of our data.” The Mirror sat down recently with Wentzell to speak about the state’s approach to providing that support.
School districts across the country that have committed to reaping the benefits of dual-language instruction have found ways to make big gains in the face of obstacles, both perceived and real.
A number of weaknesses in the approach the state and school districts across Connecticut have taken to educating the rapidly increasing number of English learners has produced distressing outcomes on nearly every benchmark – including academic achievement gaps between English learners and their peers that are among the worst in the nation. Second of three stories.