Catherine Cortez Masto Intros Bill to Address National Teacher Shortage of English Learning Students
There is a national shortage of educators qualified to teach English language learners (ELL). With the nationwide growth in the number of ELL students, more districts are tapping a thin talent pool -- and challenges remain even after schools fill vacancies, with some teachers often underprepared for the job. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) hopes to address the problem with legislation she introduced on Wednesday. The Reaching English Language Learners Act would create a grant program, under Title II of the Higher Education Act, to provide support and incentivize colleges and schools to create teacher-training programs to address the shortage and better prepare the future generation of ELL educators. Five million students in U.S. public schools, or one in 10 students, are ELL. English learners are a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse population and speak more than 150 languages from around the world, with Spanish spoken by over 70% of students. “Ten percent of public school students in the United States are English learners. That means ten percent of public school students face a language gap that puts them at risk of falling behind academically,” said Cortez Masto. “I’ve introduced this bill to address the critical English language teacher shortage and help make sure that English learners have the resources they need to learn on equal footing with their peers.” More here.