Since the beginning of the school year Des Moines has enrolled 433 new students identified as English Language Learners. This is about the size of too many of Iowa's school districts. The largest growth recently has been students from Burma, Burundi, Nepal and Somali. In all, students in the ELL program speak more than 60 languages. Currently, 4,360 students are enrolled in ELL.
Not only is this a financial strain not shared by many other school districts in Iowa, but it also strains the test scores and overall academic achievement of the district as it struggles to comply with No Child Left Behind. Keep this in mind the next time you read about Des Moines schools failing the "one size fits all" requirements of NCLB.
The Board will be discussing the ELL status report at Tuesday's meeting.