Statistics Surrounding Students Learning English in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Education, in affiliation with other key educational groups, has provided detailed information surrounding students learning English in the United States. The latest information sheds light on the 2011-2012 school year as it relates to the public school system, and showed just how much the numbers have increased since the 2002-2003 academic year.

In 2011-2012, approximately 4.4 million kids, or 9.1%, were identified as students learning English, or English language learners (ELL). Kids within this category included those studying in an ESL program, High Intensity Language Training, and bilingual programs. These numbers show a noticeable increase over the 2002-2003 school year, when only 8.7 percent, or about 4.1 million kids had been identified. Here are some facts worth noting about this recent report:

Highest Percentage of ELL, all having 10.0 percent or more – California, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii. Note that six of these eight states are located in the Western portion of the continental U.S. Nearly one out of four kids enrolled in public schools in California are classified as an ELL.

Mid levels of ELL, all having between 6.0 and 9.0 percent – Rhode Island, Virginia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Florida, Maryland, plus the District of Columbia.

Lowest Percentage of ELL – West Virginia, with a rating of 0.7 percent.

These statistics surrounding students learning English paint a clear picture of what we can expect in the future. There’s no doubt that the numbers will continue to rise and that more and more classrooms will become bilingual environments.


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