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Teaching Materials for English-Learners Are in Short Supply. That Could Soon Change

A common complaint among English-language-learner educators is that high-quality learning materials are hard to come by.

The Council of the Great City Schools wants to do something about it.

The council—which represents 70 of the nation's largest urban public school systems—has formed a purchasing consortium to encourage the production of better instructional materials for English-learners.

The hope is that the joint buying power of member districts that serve about 1.3 million English-learners will force education publishers to step their game up and improve the quality of materials they design for ELLs.  

My colleague Liana Loewus has written about the challenges that ELLs teachers and others face with learning materials that "are often too simple and too disconnected from grade-level goals."30-SR-ELL-Early-ELLs-Books-blog.jpg

Los Angeles Unified will serve as the lead district for the consortium. The district has already issued requests-for-proposals for middle school mathematics materials that are consistent with college- and career-readiness standards, with a focus on getting ELLs ready to take Algebra I no later than 9th grade. The publishers will collaborate with member districts to develop the materials.

"This is an opportunity for students and teachers to have access to high-quality rigorous materials that are designed with language development and mathematical reasoning to ensure academic success," Hilda Maldonado, the executive director of multilingual and multicultural education department for L.A. Unified, said in a statement.

For Further Reading

Quality Learning Materials Are Scarce for English-Language Learners

ELL Programs Often Focus on Basic Skills, Not Higher-Order Thinking, Study Finds

Photo Credit:  Pre-K student Kailyn Walker reaches for a book in her classroom at the Dual Language Academy in Tulsa, Okla., where half of children are English-learners and students are taught in English and Spanish.

--Shane Bevel for Education Week
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