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Reading List: English Learner Students in California



Gershberg, A., A. Danenberg, & P. Sanchez. (2004). Recent Immigrant and ELL Students and Their Schools in Beyond “Bilingual” Education: New Immigrants and Public School Policies in California. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute Press. Not available online.


This chapter provides statistical portraits of ELLs and recent immigrant students in five large California districts (Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco). The authors categorize the kinds of schools that typical ELLs attend and compare them with the typical schools attended by recent immigrant and other students. They also explore segregation of recent immigrant and ELL students from other students.




**Gandara, P., R. Rumberger, J. Maxwell-Jolly, & R. Callahan. (2003). English Learners in California Schools: Unequal resources, unequal outcomes. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 11(36). Available at


This article reviews the conditions of schooling for English learners in California. There are seven aspects of the schooling of English language learners where students receive an education that is demonstrably inferior to that of English speakers, including: assignment of ELs to less qualified teachers; provision inferior curriculum and less time to cover it; classes housed in inferior facilities where they are often segregated from English speaking peers; and invalid assessment instruments that provide little information about their achievement. An earlier version of this article was prepared as background for the Williams vs. the State of California class action suit.


Jensen, C., & S. de Alth. (2005). English Learners in California Schools. Chapter 3: Policy Context for EL Students (p.17-35). Public Policy Institute of California. Available at


This chapter summarizes the history of major policies impacting EL education since the 1970’s, the passage of Proposition 227 in California, and the results of early studies of implementation and evaluation of that legislation. It outlines various state programs that provide funding for education English learners (i.e., state Economic Impact Aid, Community-Based English Tutoring Program (CBET) created under Proposition 227, English Language Acquisition Program (ELAP), and the English Language and Intensive Literacy Program). In addition, the chapter provides an overview of the federal policy context as it pertains to English learners, including the provisions of theNo Child Left Behind Act and requirements for Title I and Title III funding for schools/districts.


Recent News Articles


Becker, A. (2006, July 24). As Latino students near a majority in California schools, questions arise. Contra Costa Times.


This article outlines some of the major questions/issues facing California about how to educate English learners in California, particularly Latinos. Latino student advocates argue that the state should do more, including adopting textbooks that aren’t culturally biased, hiring more Spanish-speaking teachers, and encouraging more Latino students to enroll in rigorous courses.


Rivera, C. (2006, September 1). Bill Renews Debate Over Helping English Learners. Los Angeles Times. Available at


This article discusses approved legislation (SB 1769) which would allow school districts to include extra reading and writing lessons for elementary students struggling to learn English. The legislation would not make the materials mandatory for districts, but more than 40 districts have endorsed the legislation.


Schwarzenegger, A. (2006, July 16). Immersion is the best way to learn a second language. San Jose Mercury News. Not available online.


In this editorial, the Governor asserts his support for the State Board of Education’s to stay the path of English instruction for English learners, and not push for separate books, curriculum, and classes for EL students. As an English-learner himself, the Governor learned English through immersion, and believes it is the best way to educate students.



**This document is considered a priority reading.