Based on the paper titled “Left Behind” by Misty Smith. Originally published in PSY-230 on September 17, 2017, at Southern New Hampshire University.
Culturally and linguistically diverse learners (CLDL) and emergent bilingual learners (EBL) have been increasingly in the spotlight when it comes to educational policies within the United States over the past few decades (Hardman 95). However, there are still numerous areas which need to be addressed and improved upon before these students are given the access to the same educational opportunities as native-born or fluent English speaking students.
Culturally and linguistically diverse learners (CLDL) and emergent bilingual learners (EBL) have been increasingly in the spotlight when it comes to educational policies within the United States over the past few decades (Hardman 95). However, there are still numerous areas which need to be addressed and improved upon before these students are given access to the same educational opportunities as native-born or fluent English speaking students.
Some areas of the United States have seen tremendous results from programs such as English as a second language (ESL)/bilingual education and culturally and linguistically responsive education (Hardman 96). For example, schools with the proper resources are able to teach children in their native languages while learning English. Studies have shown, “For children whose heritage language is one other than English, there is clear research that developing academic language in both the L1, their heritage language, and the L2, their emerging English language, support overall academic growth” (Hardman 96). However, not every school or district within the nation has the means to teach these students in a manner in which they will flourish. As a result, many students are left behind and those with disabilities are often overlooked.
Safeguards are in place in at least 37 states in the nation by using the ACCESS test developed by WIDA to determine if a child should be isolated from other students while learning English (Hardman 97). However, this failsafe is not always used or lacks in certain areas. For example, this student was a classroom helper for a public preschool in the early 2000’s and witnessed students who could not speak any English placed into the preschool with no special help given. One child, a girl, showed signs of learning disability by not being able to grasp shapes but was overlooked by the administration.
In order to see if these types of situations have improved in this area, this student interviewed a recent high school graduate. The first question asked was if the student had knowledge of special services that were offered to students whose English was poor or nonexistent. The response given was that the teachers depended upon bilingual students to translate to the notion of English speaking students what they were to learn (personal communication, September 14, 2017). Next, this student asked if the recent graduate had witnessed any frustration from the students who did not speak English and the answer was an overwhelming yes (personal communication, September 14, 2017). She stated that the teachers would become frustrated with the students who were not proficient in the English language. The students were expected to learn English before coming to class, from their parents, and were often ignored and left behind in the educational setting (personal communication, September 14, 2017). Such examples as these are not new and have been shown to be an issue nationwide, for example, “…there are strongly held beliefs that people coming to the United States speaking languages other than English should learn English and that this should be a relatively quick process” (Hardman 97).
In conclusion, this student believes that there is much-needed work still needed to be done within the United States educational system to meet the needs of an-English students. First, assessments not only need to be completed before classroom placement based on English levels but also assessments of disabilities. Secondly, teachers need to be trained in cultural diversity and in methods of spotting children that have slipped through the system protocols.
Hardman, Michael L. Human Exceptionality: School, Community, and Family, 12th Edition. Cengage Learning, 20160101. VitalBook file.