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English Learner Education

English Language Students

From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D.
Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:November 10, 2010

As we work together to eliminate achievement gaps and to help all students achieve proficiency, I want to draw your attention to one group of students that is among those most in need of our very best efforts. The Commonwealth has more than 59,000 English language learners (ELLs) who, as a subgroup, continue to lag far behind their English proficient peers in academic achievement. Virtually every district in the state has or will have students who are English language learners, with many districts having ELLs from a number of different language backgrounds. To be successful, this growing and widely diverse student population needs high quality and effective programs, staffed by a sufficient number of knowledgeable and well trained teaching staff. Research shows that with appropriate language support services and instruction by qualified teachers, ELLs can develop English proficiency and achieve academic success. Moreover, federal and state laws and regulations require that such programs and services be provided to eligible students. Several years ago, the Commonwealth recognized the increased cost of educating ELLs and changed the Chapter 70 formula to provide additional funding for English language learners. Therefore, as you review and set your budget priorities, I urge you to put the needs of the ELLs in your district high on your list of priorities. Please also carefully consider the professional development needs of teachers who are instructing ELLs. If we are to narrow the pervasive achievement gaps between ELLs and their counterparts, we must afford them every opportunity to succeed. If you wish information on services for ELL students, please contact Esta Montano, Director, Office of English Language Acquisition and Academic Achievement, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148. Telephone: 781-338-3538, email:

Last Updated: November 10, 2010

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