Schools Get More Diverse, ELL Instruction Remains Bleak

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Duna Lopez started school in Miami last fall not knowing a single word of English.

The 8-year-old girl from Barcelona, Spain, with dark blond hair was placed in the Coral Way Bilingual K-8 Center, the nation's oldest bilingual school. For half the day, she receives classes in Spanish; it's English for the rest. During language arts, she gets pulled out with three other new arrivals for extra help on grammar and phonics.

After seven months, she's one of the most active participants in class.

"In five months, like that, I learned it," she said.

Duna's success is exceptional, but the language challenge she faced is increasingly common across the U.S. educational map. Nationwide, nonwhites are expected to become a majority of the population within a generation, and schools are at the cutting edge of that historic shift.

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