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English Learners in California

Who are California's English Learners?

Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee. (2015). English learners. In English language arts/English language development framework for California public schools: Kindergarten through grade twelve (pp. 888–892). Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education.  Available at

This excerpt on English learners (ELs) from the California English-Language Arts/English Language Development Framework describes who ELs in this state are and some of the demographic factors that impact their experience learning English (e.g., socio-economic status, experience with formal schooling, immigration status). This selection highlights research associated with three factors—age, fluency in their primary language, and time in the United States—as having an important influence on the pace and quality of learning English in American classrooms. This document also describes the various designations or categories of ELs according to the information California Department of Education collects from districts (e.g., Long-Term English Learner, Redesignated Fluent English Proficient) and some of the main instructional program models and goals used to teach ELs.

California Collaborative on District Reform (2018). Key figures about California's English learners. [Collection of student demographic and performance data for March 27–28, 2018, meeting of the California Collaborative on District Reform] San Mateo, CA: Author. Available at

This collection of graphics includes the percentage of ELs in each of the CA Collaborative member districts, the primary languages spoken by ELs, grade levels at which redesignation tends to happen, and the density of ELs across the state. Most of the graphics in this document come from a 2012 piece from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), California’s English Learner Students. The full PPIC report is available at report/R_912LHR.pdf.

English Learner Policy Framework

**Hakuta, K. (2018). California English learner roadmap: Strengthening comprehensive educational policies, programs, and practices for English learners. [Unpublished draft]. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education.

This document offers guidance to local education agencies and technical assistance providers as they incorporate EL education into their local program designs in accordance with the new State Board of Education (SBE) EL Roadmap policy adopted in July 2017. This text begins by sharing the SBE policy’s historical context and outlines the research and four principles underlying the policy: (1) Assets-Oriented and Needs-Responsive Schools; (2) Intellectual Quality of Instruction and Meaningful Access; (3) System Conditions to Support Effectiveness; and (4) Alignment and Articulation Within and Across Systems. The authors also provide a crosswalk of these four principles with the eight state priorities identified in Local Control Funding Formula statute. The guidance document concludes with examples of system approaches and strategies that illustrate the principles and elements of the Roadmap. For the purposes of this meeting, please focus on pages 1-20.

Olsen, L., & Maxwell-Jolly, J. (February 2018). The English learner roadmap: Important shifts in direction. [Table]. In English learners in focus: The English Learner Roadmap: Providing direction for English learner success (p. 5). Available at CSBA/Files/GovernanceResources/GovernanceBriefs/201802EnglishLearnerRoadmap.ashx

The EL Roadmap is a major shift for California schools. This table, taken from the February 2018 California School Boards Association governance brief on the EL Roadmap, highlights the important shifts in direction the new EL Roadmap Policy takes from the old policies and current practices.

**This document is considered a priority pre-reading.