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Are Connecticut's English Language Learners Falling Behind?

The population of English Language Learners in Connecticut has increased by nearly 50 percent in the past ten years. Unfortunately, support for these students hasn’t kept up. Despite this steady increase in a learning population, the number of certified, bilingual teachers has been in a steady decline.

Right now, Connecticut has the worst outcomes in the country between English language and non-English language students in eighth grade math. And that’s just one indicator that shows that Connecticut might be falling behind the demographic trends when it comes to educating these kids.

And, while more than 70 percent of English-Language Learners in the state are Spanish-speaking, the number of immigrants coming from other places -- speaking different languages -- is growing all the time.

This hour, we talk bilingual education ahead of a public policy forum sponsored by the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission. We also find out how ELL students are underrepresented in school choice programs. 


  • Orlando Rodriguez,  Associate legislative analyst at the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission
  • Robert Cotto, Jr., Director of Urban Educational Initiatives at Trinity College
  • Milly Arciniegas, Director of Hartford Parent University, mother of two students in the Hartford Public Schools
  • Jay Sicklick, Deputy Director of Center for Children's Advocacy

The Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission are holding a public policy forum on ELL/bilingual education January 13th and the state capitol. Register here. 

Betsy Kaplan contributed to this show.

Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.

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