The Migration Policy study, based on the Census data from 2012 showed that the percentage of students aged 6 to 21 years who were born outside the U.S. and enrolled in a K-12 program is now 4.7%. This translates to 2.37 million individuals. In comparison, students who were born in the U.S. and deficient in English-language skills had reached 9.1%, based on the 2013 data provided by the Department of Education.
True in several states
Mikhail Zinshteyn, the author of the report said that the wide disparity is true in many states across the U.S. According to him, about 93% of the child population in California were native born (2012) yet about 25% of the students in 2012 were enrolled in programs provided for learners of the English language. In Oregon, about 11% of the students were English language learners (ELL) despite the fact that only 4% of them were born overseas. The ELL population in Nevada is 20% while it is 15% in Texas. The numbers were huge considering that only 6% of the student population in these two states were born outside of the United States.
Quite alarming data
It is alarming since based on the report the younger children who lacked English-language proficiency were born in America. Taking the numbers from children between kinder and grade five, the report revealed that close to nine out of 10 ELL students were U.S.-born.
Jeanne Batalova of the Migration Policy Institute explained that the disadvantages for these students are cumulative. Even if the gap between the skills and the abilities of the children lacking English-language proficiency is not that wide during their early grades, it will soon become wider when more complex and complicated lessons are included in higher grades. By then these students will be lagging far behind their peers.
The 2012 Census data noted that people age five and above who are considered foreign-born come close to 41 million, which tripled the numbers from the 1980 Census figures. Out of these 41 million, about half are said to speak English “very well” or only speak English at home.
Many states in the country are now experiencing an influx of quite a huge number of immigrants, including those states that have not traditionally received that many.
Ten states in the report are currently experiencing a huge growth in student population enrolled in learning programs for English, such as South Carolina with 610% and North Carolina with 135%. Also highlighted in the report are the states of Kansas, Virginia, Delaware, Alabama and Arkansas.