Think English Learners Shouldn’t Be Held to High Standards? Think Again.

The Common Core State Standards were designed to help all students achieve to high levels. And the authors of the standards made it clear from the beginning that all included our nation’s fastest growing population of students: English learners. Yet, some argue that certain populations of students can’t achieve to college-and-career ready levels.

CSS-Ensuring-Equity-for-English-Learners-Cover-imgWith that in mind, the Collaborative for Student Success is releasing a new policy brief, “Ensuring Equity for English Learners through Common Core State Standards.” The document is an update to a policy brief that was published alongside the Common Core when the standards were first released – with the benefit of almost 5 years of lessons learned through implementation. Written by ESL teacher Becky Corr, the brief outlines specific actions that can be taken at the state, district and school levels to help ensure  English learners can reach their full potential through implementation of the Common Core, including:

  • Design programming, policies and procedures to meet the needs of English learners;
  • Establish regular meetings with the parents of English learners to get feedback and involve them in school leadership;
  • Devote time to establish and nurture successful collaborative partnerships between ESL and content teachers;
  • Provide guidelines for measuring English learners’ content knowledge and language proficiency; and
  • Establish culturally responsive environments and promote culturally responsive teaching practices.

While these changes do not take place overnight, they are imperative for schools to ensure that all students are being given the same opportunities to succeed academically. As Corr notes, “English learners with a growth mindset, teachers who believe in them, and state-level systematic elements in place, can and will reach the rigors of the Common Core State Standards.”

States, schools and educators have an opportunity to tap into the “brainpower, energy and creativity” of English learners across our country by upholding high standards and rigorous expectations. Now is not the time to let those students down.

Click here to read the full policy brief.