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DOJ Says State Not Meeting Needs Of ESL Students

The U.S. Department of Justice says Massachusetts is not properly meeting the needs of students whose second language is English.

In 2002 Massachusetts passed a law requiring most classroom instruction for those students to take place in English, despite their level of proficiency.

A federal investigation finds many teachers across hundreds of districts are not completing training on how to help these students comprehend instruction.

Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester says his department is cooperating in the federal investigation, which has found many teachers across hundreds of districts are not completing training on how to help those students comprehend instruction in other subjects.

"Our English language learners are a population that we've been concerned with the kind of progress we're making,” Chester said. “It's incremental progress, but it needs to be much more dramatic.”

The teacher training is not mandated under the law.

This program aired on September 17, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Lynn Jolicoeur Twitter Producer/Reporter
Lynn Jolicoeur is the field producer for WBUR's All Things Considered. She also reports for the station's various local news broadcasts.

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