Malcolm Welfare desperately wants to teach again.
“I have a license [to teach] from Puerto Rico, but I am stuck because you guys don’t take that into consideration,” Welfare recently told state legislators. “Bridgeport is in desperate need of bilingual education teachers, and here I am stuck.”
CTMirror file photo
A classroom for students who understand limited English at DiLoreto Magnet Elementary School in New Britain
Welfare’s story is particularly compelling to top state legislators seeking to overhaul the education provided to students who speak and understand limited English.
“This is really not the sort of story we want to hear,” Rep. Andy Fleischmann, House chairman of the Education Committee, told Welfare, who has taught for 20 years.
With one out of every 15 students in Connecticut’s public schools speaking and understanding limited English, their achievement lags far behind that of their classmates. The gap in Connecticut is among the largest in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
And the state’s strategy to catch these students up largely depends on a dwindling qualified workforce of teachers, while the number of students is steadily increasing across the state.
“The gaps in our understanding of these issues and how to deal with them was all so glaring,” House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, said recently after receiving a report from a panel he appointed to review the system.
Parents and advocates in some Connecticut school districts have noticed.
Facing federal investigations into the education being provided to English learners, Hartford and Stamford school officials over the last two years promised major changes. There is also an open investigation into New Britain Public Schools.
To read full article: http://ctmirror.org/2015/04/06/for-students-with-limited-english-glaring-gaps-in-achievement-and-state-remedies/