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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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

  • Author(s): Gándara, Patricia
  • Rumberger, Russell W.
  • et al.

In California, the state is responsible for ensuring equality of educational opportunity for all of its students. Yet, with respect to English learners, the state has largely failed even to assess the conditions of education for these students. It has not adequately monitored their educational opportunities in terms of access to critical resources such as qualified teachers, appropriate instructional materials, coursework, and learning environments. In this study we first examine the achievement gap for English learners in California. Second, we review evidence in seven areas in which these students receive a substantially inequitable education vis-à-vis their English- speaking peers, even when those peers are similarly economically disadvantaged. Third, we examine the failure of the state to monitor, prevent and correct substandard EL learning conditions. Finally, we discuss some possible ways for the state to equalize the opportunities for this significant sub-population of students.

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