Into and out of English Learner Status in K-12: Why It Matters

Peggy Estrada, Faculty Associate Research Scientist in Latin American and Latino Studies, reinaugurates the CLRC Brown Bag Lecture Series with a free, public lecture on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 12:00-1:30pm, in the Charles E. Merrill Lounge.

April 18, 2014

By , CLRC Graduate Student Researcher 

Educational achievement remains the key pathway for reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility.  Yet, English Learners (ELs), students with a primary language other than English in the home, frequently experience not only economic poverty, but also an impoverished education in our schools.  California is home to 33% of all EL students in the United States.  ELs comprise 23% of California’s K–12 students, and 85% are Spanish speakers.  Poverty, persistent underachievement, and their consequences for diminished life chances lend urgency to developing more effective educational policies and practices for these students.  Drawing upon an ongoing four-year research project and her own concept of Curricular Streams, Dr. Estrada addresses the discrepancy between the number of EL students who meet reclassification criteria and the number who are reclassified as fluent English-proficient, the factors that impede and facilitate reclassification, and the consequences of continuing EL status for access to the core curriculum and to non-EL peers.  She questions the fairness and efficacy of state educational policy that relies on local control for interpretation and highlights potentially high payoff opportunities for increasing reclassification and the opportunity to learn for California's 1.4 million K-12 EL students.


Peggy Estrada is Faculty Associate Research Scientist in the Latin American and Latino Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  Her curent research addresses English-learner linguistic, instructional, and curricular policies and practices and their consequences for core curricular access, achievement, and integration with non-English learner peers.  Her publications include "English Learner Curricular Streams in Four Middle Schools:  Triage in the Trenches," a forthcoming article in The Urban Review
, and Teaching Transformed (Westview Press, 2000), which integrates sociocultural theory, research, and pedagogical and classroom organizational guidelines.  She is also producer of Engaging Students in Reading Comprehension Using Instructional Conversation, a 2004 documentary video that illustrates key pedagogical principles.  Other research has focused on pedagogy, instructional quality, and achievement in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms, and teacher-student and peer relationships and their impact on achievement and social development.  A native of California and second-generation American, Dr. Estrada is a former preschool and public school teacher.

The CLRC Brown Bag Lecture Series provides UCSC faculty with the opportunity to share works-in-progress with colleagues and students in a relatively informal and intimate setting.  These lectures and discussions are free and open to the public.  Attendees are encouraged to bring their lunches.