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California Governor Approves Long-Term ELL Bill

Late Friday, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that will bring attention to those English-language learners who get stalled for years in public schools without ever becoming fluent.

Brown's approval makes California the first in the nation to put a statewide policy focus on long-term ELLs—a group of students with persistently low achievement and at high risk of dropping out of school.

The bill—AB 2193 by Assemblyman Ricardo Lara of Southern California—creates a common, statewide definition for long-term ELL students. Students at risk of becoming long-term ELLs will also be flagged. The state department of education will have to break out the data annually on long-term ELLs and report to each school district how many such students are enrolled.

A nonprofit advocacy group called Californians Together conceived of the measure and is responsible for bringing the issue of long-term ELLs into the spotlight. The governor's signature on their measure is a major victory that came just three days before the group wins national recognition today for its advocacy, research, and policy work on behalf of English-language learners.

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