In August 2014, the Council of Great City Schools published their Framework for Raising Expectations and Instructional Rigor for English Language Learners, which I and Course Crafters use as a guidepost for designing curricula and instructional materials for ELLs and their teachers.
The Council of Great City Schools has a huge stake in the academic success of ELLs: their 67 school districts collectively enroll over 1.2 million of the country’s ELLs, or 26% of the nation’s total. After NCLB, and now reiterated in ESSA, all ELLs, K-12, are held to the same rigorous academic, college- and career-ready standards as their English-proficient peers. Helping school districts meet this goal requires those of us who design curricula and instructional materials for ELLs and professional development for teachers of ELLs—language educators and, increasingly, mainstream classroom teachers—to reexamine the way we are looking at developing ELLs’ academic language proficiency. We’re not there yet, but we’ll get there if we examine and pay heed to the suggestions in the CGCS Framework.