Illinois wrestles with how to get more English learners prepared to enter kindergarten

August 8, 2019 | Chalkbeat Chicago

With data showing particularly low rates of kindergarten readiness among Illinois’ English language learners, some advocates are zeroing in on a particular problem: They say that too many schools lack the linguistic capacity to measure their incoming students and thus may miss signs of children’s capabilities.

Rebecca Vonderlack-Navarro, manager of education policy and research at the Latino Policy Forum, highlighted a potential explanation: a lack of bilingual teachers.

“You might have kids that are expressing something in their home language or in both the home language and English, and it might be difficult for a lot of teachers who don’t speak that language to capture that information,” she said. “I really think [the data] speaks more to our bilingual teacher shortage.”

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