English learners in NJ suffered from lack of services during COVID
NEW JERSEY – A new report has revealed that English learners in New Jersey public schools have suffered doubly during the pandemic. English learners in the state’s public school system were already facing inadequate supports, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced students to miss essential services.
The report was released this month by the NJ Consortium for Immigrant Children, NJ Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages ââ/ NJ Bilingual Educators, and Education Law Center. The report used a survey of 80 ESL / bilingual educators, administrators and counselors among NJTESOL / NBE members, supplemented by follow-up interviews, as well as listening sessions with parents, caregivers and young people conducted between April and July 2021.
The report reads in part:
“Despite considerable work by educators, parents and other caregivers to ensure continuity of learning during this time, their efforts were hampered by school districts who failed to meet their obligations under the code. bilingual education in New Jersey – state regulations governing education – before and during the pandemic, and by a lack of sufficient direction, support and enforcement by the state, including understood loopholes in the Code itself. â
The report found that more than a third of educators responded to the survey that found that lack of compliance with state regulations for ELs was a “major problem” at their school. A third of those polled also said there was no language accommodation in English-only classes for ELs at their school before the pandemic, while 10 percent said Google Translate was the accommodation. primary or unique linguistic that their school offered to their EL students.
Attendance was also found to be a big issue for LEs, with 26% of those surveyed saying there was no attendance recovery policy at their school, and more said their school had not communicated its policy to the EL. In some schools, ELs are dropping out in large numbers, with an educator reporting 180 dropouts in her district during the pandemic, according to the report.
The report underscored the importance of services and supports for ELs, as many New Jersey residents are immigrants, descendants of immigrants, or ELs themselves.
âImmigrants make up a large and prosperous portion of New Jersey’s population and a significant portion of its ELs. Almost a quarter of New Jerseyans were born outside the United States, while about one in six residents is a United States-born citizen with at least at least one immigrant parent. The proportion of school-aged children with one or more parents who were not born in the United States is higher in New Jersey (39%) than in the United States as a whole (26%). not ELs, have parents who speak languages ââother than English, âthe report reads.
Among the recommendations are:
- Develop an accountability process to ensure that each school district complies with the Bilingual Education Code;
- Revise the Code to require and improve language accommodations, make professional development for educators mandatory, and create a âcomplaint investigationâ system to respond to reports of violations;
- Provide bilingual and culturally appropriate mental health and counseling services to help English learners cope with the effects of the pandemic and other life stressors.
Read the full report here.