April is National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month! This year’s theme is “Celebrating Diversity.”
Bilingual and multilingual learners are the fastest-growing student group in America. This month we celebrate their accomplishments, affirm the assets that they bring to the educational environment, and advocate for the resources they need to succeed in school and life.
English Language Learners bring cultural traditions and languages that enrich our communities. Nonetheless, they represent the greatest untapped reserve of brainpower, energy, and creativity in our schools.
Given their rich linguistic and cultural diversity—over 400 languages are spoken by ELLs nationwide—the dramatic leap in the number of language minority students presents great possibilities and great challenges for America’s school system.
Unfortunately, these demographic changes haven’t seen parallel changes in the way schools perceive and educate ELL students. In fact, the number of programs and dollars spent per ELL student are in decline, even as the number of ELL students has skyrocketed. To deny English Language Learners equal opportunity and access to a quality education is to slam the door on their future.
English Language Learners deserve the same right to a great public-school education as their English-speaking peers. They deserve educators who are trained to teach them, schools that welcome their families, and fair funding. They deserve an educational community that shares a sense of urgency and responsibility for their well-being.
By celebrating National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month we help raise awareness to this very important issue.
There are multiple benefits to being multilingual, multiliterate, and multicultural in today’s global society. Knowing more than one language can provide tangible advantages in many areas, from delaying cognitive signs of aging, to earning college credits, and getting a better job offer. Here are a few of those benefits:
At PIQE, we provide evidence-based programs in 16 languages to families and schools nationwide. We work with English learners, immigrants, refugees, and low-income families. We provide parents with the knowledge and skills needed to take an active role in their children’s education, and to advocate not only for their children but for their community.
Here are a few resources where you can find more information about English Language Learners.
Source: colorincolorado.org and OELA (Office of English Language Acquisition)