Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Illinois District Requires ESL Training for Some Teachers

The second-largest school district in Illinois will soon begin to require all teachers at 10 of its lowest performing elementary school campuses to earn English as a Second Language teaching credentials.

The U46 school system in Elgin, Illinois, served more than 40,000 students in 2011. The student enrollment is about 49% Latino and 22% limited English proficient. The failing schools impacted are heavily Latino.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the impacted schools are those that have been on “academic watch” for five years and are required to restructure under No Child Left Behind.

Some teachers are concerned that earning the ESL credential will be expensive. The ESL requirement is just one of many of the district’s restructuring changes.

The Courier News reported that school board member Amy Kerber said the plan is a “really massive undertaking and massive system shift.”

More districts are taking steps to encourage all teachers to undergo training on training English Language Learners, to address the growth in the number of children needing such specialized instruction.