- The U.S. Department of Education has created a new interactive website designed to more effectively communicate data about the nation’s English learners (ELs) in public schools.
- Designed to be a “data story,” the site provides such information as the most common languages spoken by ELs, current EL populations in districts, and how likely EL students are to attend schools with large concentrations of ELs.
- The data also shows that in almost every state, there is at least one district where the population of ELs has more than doubled since 2010.
Data, when presented in ways that are accessible to educators, policymakers and community members, does tell a story about the nation’s students. The site’s interactive map allows users to see the number and the percentage of ELs in every school district in the nation, which can lead to questions about educational services for those students, how to engage parents of ELs, and what partnerships in the community might be important for helping students succeed.
School leaders can also see which neighboring districts might have larger proportions of EL students and could inquire about what those schools are doing to help students succeed. Or they can see what other languages are spoken by families in their state to make sure they have forms, materials, books or web pages in those languages. “The launch of this site is a worthy investment on behalf of ELs, their families and the entire education community,” Jose A. Viana, assistant deputy secretary of the Office of English Language Acquisition, said in a press release. “It takes a lot of complex data and makes it accessible and easy to use.”