My latest freelance project, The Education of Jaime Capellan: English Learner Success in California Schools, is up on the Lexington Institute site. (Yes, the name is a take-off on Leo Rosten’s Hyman Kaplan.) It’s a look at students who start school without proficient English skills but master English in elementary school and go on to outperform native English speakers.
I was surprised to learn that students from non-English-speaking homes who’ve achieved English proficiency are significantly more likely to take college-prep courses in high school than native speakers; they’re also more likely to pass the graduation exam on the first try. Of course, they’re a select group.
Unfortunately, about half of “English Learners” become “lifers.” They speak English but don’t read or write well enough to be considered proficient. And they do very poorly in school.