The US Census pegs the number of non- or limited-English speakers in the country at 25 million. That number is expected to grow over the next few decades. Engaging this segment of our population can make a significant difference in our economy, our politics, and our society as a whole.
Although Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the foreign foreign-born population, making up an estimated 24.4% of the US population by 2050, other nationalities also have a significant presence. For instance, the population of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States doubled from 1990 to 2004.
Important to note is that 71% of this foreign-born population is between age 25-64, ages where language learning is sparse at best compared to their children, who might be spending significant time in school-based ELL programs.
The federal government funds a majority of adult language education, with the states administering the programs. Yet only a little more than one million students were enrolled in such programs in 2006-07, far short of the millions who need to be served.
Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) in central Florida has made great strides in reaching their rapidly expanding foreign-born population through technology-based learning from Rosetta Stone. Their program:
• Extends English Language Learning beyond the classroom
• Increases engagement and participation by complementing classroom instruction
• Improves CASAS scores with the help of an adult-engaging technology solution
Tiffaney Barnes, an instructional support tech from OCPS’s Career and Technical Education department, will join us for a free 50-minute webinar on Wednesday, May 14 at 4:00 p.m. EDT to share just how they’ve implemented their successful program and how your district can replicate their results.
With less than half of adult learners completing their ELL programs, it’s time to start looking at fresh approaches to this important segment of education. We cannot afford to ignore Americans that will make up more than a quarter of our population in just a short period of time.