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Limited-English students test public schools

August 12, 2013

10 percent of U.S. public school students struggle with the English language, while just 1 percent of its teachers are qualified to instruct them.


Today is the UN's International Youth Day and this year's focus is on young migrants, those who move with their families or by themselves for better opportunities or to escape poor circumstances in their home countries. In 2010 there were more than 27 million young migrants, and some of them came to the United States. Once here, some added to the growing diversity of America's classrooms - but America’s teachers have some catching up to do.

Ten percent of all public school students are English as a Second Language learners (ESL), meaning they have limited English proficiency. But less than 1 percent of public school teachers are ESL instructors.

That means there’s just one ESL instructor for every 150 ESL students. The standard classroom ratio across America is one teacher for every 15 students.

Be sure to click on today's infographic to see these ratios illustrated. Share it with a teacher or student to see what they think. Then join our discussion below. What obligation do you think a school district has to meet ESL demand with appropriate instructors? Are we doing enough to serve youth migrants to this country?