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The Inequitable Treatment of English Learners in California's Public Schools

  • Author(s): Gandara, Patricia
  • Rumberger, Russell
  • et al.
Abstract

Gandara and Rumberger investigate the extent to which California’s English Learners—one-fourth of the state’s public school population—have access to the teachers, instructional materials, and facilities that will enable them to succeed in an English-only, standards-based policy system in which they must learn and compete for grade-to-grade promotion and high school graduation along side (and on the same terms as) their English speaking peers. Gandara and Rumberger conclude that that these students receive a substantially inequitable education vis-à-vis their English-speaking peers, even when those peers are similarly economically disadvantaged. They demonstrate that California has failed in its duty to guarantee that EL students have the teachers, the curriculum, the instruction, the assessment, and the support services they need to achieve meaningful access to the same academic content as native English speaking students. Furthermore, when the state has become aware of specific substandard learning conditions for English Learners it has failed to act effectively to correct these problems. Furthermore, with an ill planned class size reduction program and the poorly articulated implementation of Proposition 227, the state has worsened the learning conditions for these students.

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