Cushing-Leubner, J. & King, K.A. (2015). Long-term English learners and language education policy. In A. Yiakoumetti (Ed.) Multilingualism and language in education: Current sociolinguistic and pedagogical perspectives from Commonwealth

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Cushing-Leubner, J. & King, K.A. (2015). Long-term English learners and language education policy. In A. Yiakoumetti (Ed.) Multilingualism and language in education: Current sociolinguistic and pedagogical perspectives from Commonwealth
  199 INTRODUCTION Te last decade within US language and education policy has been marked by increased attention to the opportunities and needs o so-called ‘Long-term English learners’ (LELs). In broad terms, LELs are students who are bilin-gual or are in the process o becoming bilingual; who speak a language other than English; who have attended schools in their country o residence or five years or more; and who have social English-speaking and listening-com-prehension skills similar to their native English-speaking peers. Crucially, LELs typically perorm ar below grade-level in academic tasks demanding discipline-specific English oral language and literacy (Olsen, 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀲). LELs generally have not had opportunities to develop literacy skills in their home language(s) and have ofen experienced disruptions to their schooling expe-riences, either as the result o transnational moves or due to inconsistencies in school programming. While the bulk o LEL research, advocacy and policy work has devel-oped within the US, LELs almost certainly exist – although not broadly recognised nor tracked as a defined population – in other Commonwealth countries, such as England, Canada and Australia, where English main-tains a privileged status and is essential or academic success and career advancement. Tis chapter critically reviews the development o research and public policies which aim to support LELs in the US through a com-parative analysis o approaches in two US states, Caliornia and New York, and argues or the need or broader, coherent policies that support students’ 12  Long-term English learners and language education policy  Jenna Cushing-Leubner and Kendall A. King (University of Minnesota, USA)  200 multilingual repertoires and emergent bilingualism in the US and beyond. It concludes with a consideration o the ways in which a ocus on plurilingual students who are termed ‘LEL’ as a population group potentially promotes or limits productive analysis o language and education policies in specific Commonwealth contexts. WHO ARE LTELS? LEL as a term and sub-group o English language learners first emerged in policy and teacher development resources (e.g. Freeman and Freeman 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀲; Olsen and Jaramillo 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀹) ollowing ethnographic research in the late 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀰s in one Caliornia high school with many transnational and plurilin-gual students (Olsen 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀷). Tat early research highlighted the ways in which anti-immigrant sentiments and debates around bilingual education (Hakuta 󰀱󰀹󰀸󰀶; 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀱) impacted student experiences, and in particular, the institutional and social mechanisms through which linguistic and cultural identities were erased, and immigrant and transnational students were stratified, with both negative academic and linguistic outcomes or students. Subsequent schol-arship by Laurie Olsen in Caliornia (󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀷; 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀰a; 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀰b; 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀲), and Kate Menken in New York (󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀳; Menken, Funk, and Kleyn 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀱; Menken and Kleyn 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀹; 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀰; Menken, et al. 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀰; Menken, Kleyn and Chae 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀷; 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀲; Menken and Solorza 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀲), identified some o the educational policy condi-tions that ofen resulted in these academic and linguistic outcomes among LELs. In broad terms, these educational policies include inconsistent lan-guage programming, subtractive linguistic and literacy instruction, and a lack o engaging and rigorous courses, curricula and materials.Overall, work to date defines LELs as students who have attended schools in their current country (e.g. the US) or five years or more (and thus are typ-ically between 󰀱󰀲 and 󰀱󰀸 years old); have social English speaking and listening comprehension skills similar to their native English-speaking peers; perorm ar below grade-level in academic tasks that demand reading or writing; and struggle with content areas that demand literacy skills. Tese students come to school with a wide range o home language and literacy proficiencies, but experience extremely restricted opportunities to use and develop these in ormal school settings. Because o these restricted academic and English lan-guage skills, their grades are ofen low and they are at a high risk or school leaving. Tereore LELs have academic needs that differ greatly to ‘typ-ical’ English learner students who have recently arrived. Tey are also not Jenna Cushing-Leubner and Kendall A. King  201 well-served by traditional ESL approaches, which tend to valorise English language development over inquiry, disciplinary content understanding, and multilingual maintenance and development. In many parts o the US, LELs comprise a significant portion o the school population. o date, little data is available at the state level, with most efforts to document and support these students taking place at the district and school levels. Data rom New York City suggests that one third o all stu-dents classified as English learners are LELs (New York City Department o Education 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀸). Data rom Caliornia indicates that nearly 󰀵󰀹% o secondary emergent bilingual students in nearly 󰀴󰀰 districts are LELs (Olsen 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀰b). In addition, LELs are specifically cited in proessional development and defin-itional documents districts in Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia and Mississippi. While there are no nationwide statistics on this population, regional studies show that many o these students were born in the US, but moved back and orth between national borders and educational systems (Menken, Kleyn, & Chae 2012). Other LELs have completed all o their education so ar within the US, but experienced inconsistencies in language development program-ming, moving in and out o different language education programmes (e.g. submersion, transitional bilingual education, ESL pull-out, and so on). State and district education policies determine English learner (EL) status as well as the curriculum and instruction that potentially moves students towards reclassification as ‘English proficient’. All US states are required to have systems in place to identiy ELs; to address their linguistic and aca-demic educational needs based on sound educational theory; to develop mechanisms or reclassification; and to evaluate these systems or their e-ectiveness in providing equal access to education (Castañeda v. Pickard; Lau  v. Nichols; Office or Civil Rights 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀱). However, within these guidelines, how individual states and districts determine EL status and reclassification  varies widely – both in terms o assessments employed and levels o profi-ciency required (Kim and Herman 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀹). For instance, in some states, reclas-siying a student out o EL status takes into consideration English proficiency combined with academic status in content courses (particularly language arts); some states rely heavily on myriad English-language standardised test scores; in other states, teacher recommendations are considered. Te limited data that exists suggests low and slow reclassification rates. For instance, Tompson and Hakuta’s (󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀱; Hakuta 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀱) case study o one school district in Caliornia tracked emergent bilingual students rom kindergarten through to their seventh year in school. Findings suggest that these students had a 󰀱󰀰% probability o reclassification by their ourth year. Long-term English learners and language education policy  202 Probability or reclassification was 󰀲󰀰% within five years o school, 󰀴󰀰% within six years, and only 󰀵󰀵% within seven years. While these findings are in line with empirical data on the pace o second language learning (e.g. Collier 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀲; Cummins 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀲; Hakuta 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀰; Snow 󰀱󰀹󰀸󰀷), they are highly problematic in light o the act that the great majority o students do not have access to bilingual instruction to curriculum and many states limit EL support to our years (García 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀹). Some researchers assert that LELs are the product o structural con-straints in educational policy and practice: namely, inconsistent language programming; subtractive linguistic and literacy instruction; and lack o en-gaging, relevant and academically demanding courses and materials. Tese structural constraints, in turn, stem rom underlying assumptions and ideologies about these students’ resources, their amilies and their utures (Flores 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀳; Menken and Kleyn 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀰; Menken, Kleyn, and Chae 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀲). In the US, emergent bilinguals in secondary schools who have not yet mastered English are ramed as ‘at-risk’ or educational ailure, as ‘high need’ and as contributing to the ‘achievement gap’ (Abedi 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀴; Abedi and Dietel 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀴; Abedi and Gándara 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀶; Olsen 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀰b; 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀲), with their home language re-quently treated as a problem or obstacle to success rather than an asset or resource to be cultivated (Ruiz 󰀱󰀹󰀸󰀴; Cummins 󰀱󰀹󰀷󰀶, 󰀱󰀹󰀸󰀶, 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀲; Lambert 󰀱󰀹󰀷󰀴; Valenzuela 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀹). Tese assumptions are evident in broader discourses around these students but also in widely adopted standards and standards-based assessments such as WIDA, in which students are classified according to the English language skills they have yet to develop, or example, as emer- gent  , developing  , bridging   and reaching   (WIDA 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀲).While the bulk o specific US educational policy decisions are made at state and local levels, ederal policy is also influential. Greater ocus on English learners and LELs in particular, is at least in part due to the 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀱 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), ofen reerred to as ‘No Child Lef Behind’ (NCLB), which mandated greater accountability meas-ures (i.e., standardised testing) and analysis and reporting by subgroup (e.g. by language proficiency, by race, by socioeconomic status), with the aim o narrowing the so-called ‘achievement gap’ (Ladson-Billings 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀶; Milner 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀳). While the treatment o English learners as a statistical subgroup has been highly problematic (Abedi 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀲; Abedi and Dietel 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀴; Hill and DePascale 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀳; Koyama and Menken 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀳; Working Group on ELL Policy 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀰), this increased testing and tracking has also drawn attention to the unmet needs o many English learners. As LELs have gained greater visi-bility, language and education policy makers in specific states have begun to attempt to address these shortcomings, as detailed below. Jenna Cushing-Leubner and Kendall A. King  203 US STATE POLICY RESPONSES Te ederal government does not recognise LEL as an accountability cat-egory; however, two states have recently developed language and education policies that specifically attempt to address LEL needs: Caliornia (Olsen 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀰b; 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀲) and New York (Ascenzi-Moreno, Kleyn, and Menken 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀳). California In September 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀲, Caliornia passed the country’s first bill addressing LEL educational needs. Assembly Bill 󰀲󰀱󰀹󰀳 defined both ‘LEL’ and ‘English learners at risk o becoming a LEL’ and mandated the collection and ana-lysis o state, district and school data with respect to both populations. In this Caliornia definition, an LEL is an (emphasis ours):󰀱 English learner who is enrolled in any o grades 󰀶 to 󰀱󰀲 , inclusive, has󰀲 been enrolled in schools in the United States for more than six years ,󰀳 has remained at the same English language proficiency level for two  󰀴  or more consecutive years  as determined by the English language󰀵 development test identified or developed pursuant to Section 󰀶󰀰󰀸󰀱󰀰, or󰀶 any successor test and scores far below basic or below basic on 󰀷 the English language arts standards-based achievement test󰀸 administered pursuant to Section 󰀶󰀰󰀶󰀴󰀰, or any successor test.In turn, an ‘English learner at risk o becoming a LEL’ is a defined as an󰀹 English learner who is enrolled in any o grades 󰀵 to 󰀱󰀱 , inclusive, in 󰀱󰀰  schools in the United States for four years , scores at the󰀱󰀱  intermediate level or below on the English language 󰀱󰀲  development  test identified or developed pursuant to Section 󰀶󰀰󰀸󰀱󰀰,󰀱󰀳 or any successor test, and scores in the fourth year at the below  󰀱󰀴 basic or ar below basic level on the English language arts󰀱󰀵 standards-based achievement test administered pursuant to Section󰀱󰀶 󰀶󰀰󰀶󰀴󰀰, or any successor test. Several aspects o these official definitions merit consideration. Te first is the ocus not just on English proficiency (lines 󰀳–󰀴, 󰀱󰀱–󰀱󰀲) but on academic language development as determined by a standards-based content assess-ment (lines 󰀶–󰀷,󰀱󰀳–󰀱󰀴). Also notable is the conceptualisation o change over time. For instance, the use o becomes  (definition 󰀲: ‘English learner at risk o Long-term English learners and language education policy
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