Examining teacher quality, educational policy and English learners

Examining Teacher Quality,
Educational Policy, and
English Learners in Latina/o
Growth States
Julian Vasquez Heilig, University of Texas at Austin
Francesca Lopez, Marquette University
Daniela Torre, Vanderbilt University
• English learners (Els) are the fastest growing segment
of school age children in the United States (Terrazas & Batalova,
• Els underperform their English speaking peers in both
reading and math (Batalova, Fix, & Murray, 2007)
• Most Els were are taught by teachers untrained for the
positions (Gandara, 1990) and who are not learning the requisite
skills on the job (Britzman, 1991).
• ELs are disproportionately taught by less qualified
teachers then their English-speaking peers (Ballantyne,
Sanderman, & Levy, 2008; Darling-Hammond, 2010).
Retrieved from: http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/publication
New Destination States
Importance of Quality Teachers
 All teachers need training for teaching Els
 Bilingual
 Mainstream
 Half of all teachers can expect to teach an EL in
their career (Menken & Antunez, 2001)
 Rural teachers in new growth states lack training
both before and during their their teaching careers.
(O’Neal, Ringler, & Rodriguez, 2008)
 Teachers feel unprepared to teach Els and want more PD
Teacher Prep
 Majority of teacher prep programs do not have specific programs
for teaching ESL or BIL. (Menken & Antunez, 2001)
 These programs are concentrated in traditional destination
states(Menken & Antunez, 2001)
 Less than half of programs require at least one course for
teaching Els (Menken & Antunez, 2001)
 There has been tremendous growth in the
number of teachers receiving any professional
development regarding Els in new destination
 Professional development regarding teaching
Els may be of insufficient length of time, of
poor quality, or not aligned with teacher need
(Gandara, 2005)
What specific training do teachers need?
 Teachers need training in three domains (Menken & Antunez, 2001)
 Knowledge of Pedagogy
 Knowledge of Linguistics
 Knowledge of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity
 Teachers of Ells need specialized training
Second language acquisition
How culture shapes language development
Planning, implementing, and managing instruction
Language assessment in 4 domains
Parent communication (Tellez & Waxman, 2004)
Research Question
How has the teacher quality policy context changed in
response to the changing demographics within EL
growth states?
Data and Methods
 Coded requirements each state had in place for
preparing ESL teachers.
Course Requirements
(methods, curriculum,
assessment, and
0 = not require,
1 = elective
2 = demonstrated
3 = required course
4 = required course
All teachers have some training
0 = no requirement that all
teachers have training in
working with ELs,
1 = States where knowledge of
second language acquisition
and strategies to support ELs
and/or strategies or
accommodations for ELs must
be demonstrated via
assessment or successful
coursework completion
ESL Certification
0 = no requirement
1 = Required
Data and Methods
 Semi-structured interviews of Title III coordinators in the 5
southern new destination states with the highest growth in El
population from 2000-2010.
 Analyzed interview transcripts for trends and emergent
Study Sites
• Using census data, we identified Kentucky,
Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, and South
Carolina as having the highest growth in the EL
population since 2000.
Results: Requirements
South Carolina has highest rigor.
Most states do not require training or certification.
Even in Alabama, quality is unclear.
Tennessee requires mostly minimum competency
Results: Interviews
 All of the states are responding to growth of El population,
regardless of political context.
“It got our
for therather
it burst open
 Many
at the
from 2004 until now where we now have about 40,000.”
 Coordinators report that they haven’t been able to grow the ESL
“for the
has 15
versus 200
to meet for
the a
of the
of ELs.”
EL students so they have focused on general education teachers.
 The majority of Title III coordinators expressed that they were content
overall with the teacher quality requirements for ELs in their state.
We have risen to the challenge. I am real proud of our state.”
 Compared to Arkansas and Tennessee—states with few if any preservice training requirements aimed specifically at the needs of
ELs—South Carolina has stringent requirements in methods for
native language literacy and English language development, and
currently performs higher than any other growth state on the NAEP.
 Despite the seemingly positive reports from the Title III
coordinators, over 70% still lack the training to be effective
with ELs (Ballantyne, Sanderman, & Levy, 2008).
 Work still needs to be done in new destination states to set
higher standards for institutions of higher education for
preparing teachers to meet EL’s needs (Lucas, Villegas, FreedsonGonzalez, 2008).
 State licensure agencies are in a position to drive
programming decisions at institutions of higher education for
training teachers to educate Els .
 Recent California vote denotes that states are getting more
serious about qualifications for teaching ELL students. Ne
destination states can learn from these efforts.
For more information contact:
Daniela Torre
[email protected]

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