A landmark civil rights case filed against SFUSD by the family of an English Learner (EL) student in the early 1970’s (Lau v. Nichols
) resulted in a Supreme Court decision upholding the right of every student, regardless of language background to have equal access to education - which includes a responsibility for schools to assist EL students in gaining proficiency in English. Since 1974, SFUSD has been required by consent decree to presented a report every year with data showing how effective the district has been at supporting EL students. Here are some highlights
from that report shared at the December 13, 2016 Board of Education meeting.
- SFUSD students speak 57 Languages. Largest EL groups are Spanish speakers (47%) Cantonese (29%), and Mandarin (3%).
- In our district, English Learners are outperforming ELs in the state as a whole.
- There is a persistent gap between Cantonese speaking EL students and Spanish speaking EL students when it comes to meeting the standards tested on statewide tests of English Language Arts and Math.
- Reclassification rates (% of students each year moving from being classified as “English Learners” to "English Proficient") dipped in all language groups between 2014-15 and 2015-16. The current reclassification rate in SFUSD is 15%. While this is above the state average rate, it does not meet internal targets.
- There was a large jump in graduation rates for English Learner students between last year and the prior year. Interim Superintendent Leigh and commissioners speculated that this may be the result of the board decision last summer to eliminate the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) as a graduation requirement.
- There is a trend that EL students in language pathways like Bi-literacy or Immersion outperform EL students in English-only pathways.