Many immigrants come to America to give their children better opportunities. Education is viewed as the key to success in America. Many immigrant children overcome obstacles and succeed brilliantly in school. Others are stymied by the extra challenges they face.
What are those obstacles? Primarily language. Language-minority children, who speak virtually all of the world’s languages, represent the fastest growing sector of America's school-age population. Reliable estimates place their number at over six million. Many of them are limited in their English proficiency. This points to a growing need for education programs that take into account the specific linguistic and academic challenges faced by America's English language learners.
A different challenge is presented by the many adult immigrants who arrive in the United States with limited English language abilities. While they quickly realize that learning English is very important to their success in this country, it is not always easy to find a class at a time that does not interfere with work.
Communities around the country are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of teaching English to a variety of immigrant students and adults. Non-profit organizations, public school systems, local libraries, and private businesses have developed a range of strategies and curriculums for teaching Limited English Proficient children and adults from around the world.