Introduction: help needed to pass. The school district


is a high job market for English as Second Language (ESL) teachers needed
throughout the United States, but primarily in large urban areas with high
immigrant populations. According to the National Center for Education
Statistics, “As the number of children with difficulty speaking English
has increased (from 1.25 million in 1979 to 2.44 million in 1995), so has the
burden on school systems to recruit teachers with the skills necessary to teach
these classes. The difficulty schools have in filling such positions is
one indication of whether the supply of bilingual and ESL teachers is
adequate to meet the demand.”

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need for these teachers continues a high demand as children from foreign
countries continue to immigrate to the United States and enroll in public
schools. At this point, you will learn the historical background to ESL
programs in public schools, the strengths and weaknesses of the programs, and
how they play a major role in current curriculum trends.

Historical Background:

The most important legal incident for bilingual education was the Lau
v. Nicholas case that took place in the San Francisco Unified School
District by the parents of thousands of Chinese students. The case began as a
discrimination case in 1970 when a Chinese student, Kinney Kinmon Lau,
was failing because he could not understand the lessons given and not given the
help needed to pass. The school district argued that its policies were not
unfair because it offered the same instruction to all students regardless of
origin. The district also stated that the lack of English skill was
not the district’s fault because the students were all being treated equally.

lower courts ruled in favor of the San Francisco schools, but in 1974 the U.S.
Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Lau. Justice William O. Douglas
stated simply that “there is no equality of treatment merely by providing
students with the same facilities, textbooks, teachers, and curriculum; for
students who do not understand English are effectively foreclosed from any
meaningful education.” 414 US 563 (1974)

Court determined that the school system’s failure to provide supplemental
English language instruction to students of Chinese ancestry who spoke little
to no English constituted a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment,
and the Civil Rights Act because it deprived students of an equal education.

However, the case did not prove a specific bilingual policy and the
school districts were left responsible for taking the proper steps
towards equal education opportunities for all students enrolled in the
public school system.

Major Components Trend:

the rise in immigration in public schools and language barriers have been
around for a long time, it still is a curriculum trend that we are constantly
trying to improve. Immigration policies have been at the center of public
debate as the new presidential candidate is making changes that may affect
public schooling. The following are strengths and weaknesses to ESL programs in
public education.


job opportunities: Classrooms become more
diverse and public schools are now in need of more ESL teachers which is a plus
in the economic recession because it opens up new job opportunities. The
minimum requirement to teach is still a bachelor’s degree and some
sort of ESL qualification like obviously being fluent in the position’s

Bilingual: Like the previous
upside to ESL programs, not only is the job demand up but being bilingual is
also an upside not only for the students but for the educators. Knowing two
languages opens up even more job opportunities and can put you ahead in the job
market. Being bilingual also opens up another upside as learning another
language will come easier than the first time.

students to not fall behind in the subject matter: Students who are able to learn in their native
language while they also learn the dominate language, English, are able to keep
up with their peers. Even students with disabilities are required to
pass the state tests and the specific grade curriculum too, but generally helped.
Teachers can read the test out load to the students who fall under the
disability student criteria and generally students with language complications
fall under the group.


costly to run these programs: Though public schools are coping with reduced funding with the
economic recession some schools have created a full inclusion ESL program where
the ESL students are merged in a regular paces English class, with
students who are obviously fluent in English. The strategy is being used in
hopes of reducing the cost of ESL specialize while still being able to help
students that deal with the language barrier. While the approach helps with the
school budgets many educators and parents feel that the full inclusion
classroom is not effective for the ESL students as they are meshed with the

children to avoid learning the dominant culture: Though students get the opportunity to learn the
given curriculum in their native language some people argue that having the
students in a separate class, away from their other peers, doesn’t
help the students need to learn the English language/ culture too. This is
taking away from the students’ social interaction with and make the students
stand out among their peers. In some programs the children are pulled out
of classrooms whet they go to their ESL classes. This also makes the
student miss out on material that was covered in class while
they were trying to get help in the first place.

Significance of the

The world is
an increasingly globalized place where people are communicating among
multiple cultures each day rather it be in the business world or international
education. In recent years the curriculum standards for ESL have evolved just
like the general curriculums have. Individuals from all over the world access
to a vast selection of information from many cultures at the touch of
a button.

 Teaching ESL is an important take that
produces some of the most powerful rewards an educator can receive. There is a
sense of pride that a teacher gets from seeing the difference they make on a


For myself, teaching on any level provides an opportunity for constant learning
and growth (personal or student based) rather it be self-growth or a better
technique to teach students. In our competitive society it is important for
students to not only receive a solid education, but to work with someone who is
aware of their needs. I will always strive to be the best
educator that I can be to help develop the best leaders for our
future. Regardless of race, religion, sex, gender, origin, disability, age, or
any other basis prohibited by law that negatively affects the student, they
still have the right to an equal education. As educators we only seek the best
ways to teach students and the best ways to keep the students learning. 


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