According to U.S. Department of Education statistics, 9.8% of students enrolled in American elementary and secondary public schools are officially classified as English Language Learners (ELL) (U.S. Department of Education, 2012). In border states and states with high numbers of immigrant populations, such as Texas, Florida, New York, California, New Mexico, and Arizona, the ELL percentage is much higher. In Texas, for example, 17% of public school students are classified as ELL (Texas Education Agency, 2012). According to U.S. Department of Education statistics, 0% of college students in public higher education institutions are English Language Learners. In truth, this is a non-statistic because the Department of Education does not track ELLs into post-secondary settings. The tacit implication is that once students matriculate into Institutions of Higher Education (IHE), the ELL distinction and characteristics no longer apply. However, those of us who work at border site IHEs know that the linguistic backgrounds and English proficiency of many Hispanic students would place them firmly in the ELL category if such categorization existed at the post-secondary level.

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