From California Insider:
Sixty percent of non-English speaking children who begin attending California schools after kindergarten never become fluent in English, according to a study released today by the Legislative Analyst. And even for children who begin school here in kindergarten, immigrants from different countries master English at very different rates. Native speakers of Hmong and Spanish, for instance, learn English far more slowly than speakers of Mandarin and Korean. The differences are clear by the second grade, when more than 80 percent of Mandarin- and Korean-speaking students score at a level 3 or higher (out of 5) in reading English on the state's special test for English learners. Among students who speak Spanish or Hmong, fewer than 30 percent reach that level by the second grade. The findings raise important new questions about the cultural differences that might lead to the different results, and about the different techniques used to teach children English...
The article includes a revealing chart. You can read the full report here. It includes the following:
The economy of our state will be affected by the education system's ability to help EL ["English learner" --LW] students quickly learn English and master the academic skills identified in the state's content standards. One-third of California's kindergarten students are identified as ELs. As the large cohort of "baby boomers" retire from the workforce, employers will look to the product of our K-12 and higher education system for replacement workers. If our schools are not successful with EL students, we may have failed not only the students, but also failed to adequately provide a trained workforce for the state's economy.
Immigration2003 · Thu, 02/12/2004 - 23:27 · Importance: 1