The U.S. Conference of Mayors


WHEREAS, since the adoption of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in 2002, there has been an increased emphasis on the academic achievement of English Language Learners (ELLs). The English Learner subgroup under NCLB is required to meet certain benchmarks each academic year as a way to measure a school's Annual Yearly Progress (AYP). Currently, the law does not recognize the achievement of individual students; and

WHEREAS, nationally, over 10% of the student population speaks a language other than English in their homes. In the 2004-2005 school year, 5, 119, 561 K-12 students were identified as English Language Learners; and

WHEREAS, the academic and language development needs of ELLs throughout the nation are growing at staggering rates. The English Language Learner student population nationwide has increased by 60.76% since the 1994-1995 school year; and

WHEREAS, student assessments under NCLB have documented the need for significant academic and learning supports for ELLs and a deeply troubling achievement gap between ELLs and students who are fluent in English. Therefore, it is critically important that closing the achievement gap for language minority youth and assuring that all students experience high levels of academic success becomes a share national goal; and

WHEREAS, NCLB requires that all students reach proficient or higher levels of academic achievement by the year 2014. Presently, only a small percentage of ELLs receive full access to both English language development and the core academic curriculum they need to meet the requirements of NCLB and to succeed academically; and

WHEREAS, this disturbing fact not only has consequences for the English learners themselves, but for the schools and districts that serve them as well. An increasing number of schools are identified as not meeting AYP and placed in Program Improvement due to the academic achievement gaps experienced by ELL students, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors recognizes that English learner students must have the opportunity to meet the same high level academic standards set for all students. As NCLB reauthorization proceeds, the United States Conference of Mayors asks federal education policymakers to allow for flexibility in achieving this goal, including the use of a growth model to measure individual student achievement without labeling students and schools as failures; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The United States Conference of Mayors asks the federal government to provide sufficient funds to education agencies for the development of a systemic academic curriculum, including the use of research-based instruction models that identify best practices, to ensure that English learners achieve and sustain high levels of academic proficiency, linguistic skills and multi-cultural competency and are prepared for 21st Century citizenship.

2007 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352