Online learning harms English language learners, study finds

The abrupt shift to online learning at the start of the pandemic was particularly damaging to English language learners in American schools, new report finds.

Driving the news: The report, released Monday by UnidosUS, Latin America’s largest civil rights organization, found that the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting most Latino students, but especially those learning English. .

The big picture: Latinos did massive gains in education over the past few decades, the data shows.

  • But advocates say the setbacks suffered by students when the pandemic forced classrooms away threaten those gains.

By the numbers: English learners failed to read at grade level at a rate 1.5 times higher than their peers, 2021 data from the US Department of Education shows.

  • They also experienced 3% higher disengagement rates than their peers during the pandemic, the DOE found.
  • Teachers of K-5 English learners who went virtual were 2.5 times more likely than other teachers to report having students consistently academically behind, according to a government report quoted by UnidosUS.
  • The number of English learners has grown in recent years to more than 5.1 million students, three-quarters of whom are Latinos, said Amalia Chamorro, director of education policy for UnidosUS..

What they say : “As we emerge from the pandemic, which we know has hit the Latino community really hard, our goal should be to create an educational experience and reimagine what education can look like,” Chamorro said during from a press conference yesterday.

  • Chamorro said research shows English learners do better when they have access to qualified teachers, high-quality learning materials and schools with adequate resources.

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