ELL Students in Saint Paul Public Schools
Since 1990, the ELL population in Saint Paul Public Schools has increased by more than 240%, from 4,633 (1990-91) to 15,772 (2008-09), while overall student enrollment has increased by about 7%. ELL students represent 41% of the 2008-09 SPPS student population. In Minnesota, Saint Paul’s ELL population makes up 25% of the state ELL population.
Test scores for ELL students have steadily increased over the last few years, particularly for students representing the most frequently spoken languages other than English—Hmong, Somali, and Spanish.
According to 2000 Census figures, Minnesota is home to the largest populations of both Somalis and Hmong in the U.S.
Changing ELL Demographics
As Minnesota becomes home to greater numbers of immigrants and refugees, Saint Paul Public Schools will continue to enroll larger numbers of students who speak a language other than English at home. The following demographic information suggests what the future will bring.
· The number of “new” and/or “growing” languages spoken in SPPS continues to rise—especially Karen/Burmese. Within the last few years and into the coming years, 140,000 Karen/Burmese will have emigrated from the Thai-Burma border; many are refugees who will be resettled in the United States.
- The number of Karen/Burmese students increased 100%, to more than 220 students in 2005-2006 and to 620 in 2008-2009
· In 2004-05, Minnesota was second only to California in the number of refugees resettled—11% of refugees who arrived in the United States settled in Minnesota (5,826 individuals, according to federal figures). In 2008, there were 1,321 refugees resettled in Minnesotat hrough primary resettlement but Minnesota continues to experience many secondary resettlements.
· Of the 15,456 immigrants in Minnesota in 2004-05, 41% were refugees.
- As refugees continue to arrive in the coming years,they are highly likely to settle where they have family members and/or where there are thriving immigrant communities. Minnesota will continue to be a state that receives large numbers of refugees.
- Resettlement agencies in Minnesota predict that future groups will include Somalis, Karen, Vietnamese, and Bhutanese.
· Minnesota’s nonwhite and Latino populations are projected to grow substantially faster than the white population.
- In 2000, 9% of Minnesotans identified themselves as nonwhite. This is projected to rise to 13% by 2015 and 16% by 2030.
- In 2000, 3% of Minnesotans identified themselves as Hispanic; this is projected to rise to 6% by 2030.
· Caucasian and non-Caucasian population trends for Ramsey County are projected below (Native American populations are not included as part of the ELL population):
Nationwide Trends for English Language Learners
- English language learners are the most rapidly growing population in U.S. schools. In the ten years from 1993-94 to 2003-04, total K-12 enrollment increased by only about 7%, while ELL enrollment increased by 65%.
- In 2001, 4.6 million ELL students were enrolled in U.S. public schools—a full 10% of total preK-12 enrollment (cf., SPPS at 39%)
- Today, about one in five students in public schools lives in a home where English is not the primary language. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2030, students who speak a language other than English at home will constitute 40 percent of the school-age population
- Fifteen states have reported an increase in ELL students of more than 200 percent over the past three years.
- More than 460 languages are represented in U.S. classrooms (SPPS has 113 languages).
- A 2002 study found that Spanish was the native language of more than 75% of ELL students nationwide. Next were Vietnamese (2.4%), Hmong (1.8%), and Korean (1.2%).
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- About 73 percent of urban school districts have an immediate need for bilingual teachers.
- The Hispanic 5-to-19-year-old population is projected to grow from 11 million in 2005 to 16 million in 2020. By then Hispanics are projected to be 24% of the 5-to-19-year-old population.
- Forty-four percent of last year’s refugee arrivals to the U.S. were 18 or younger.
- Limited English skills are highly correlated with poverty and other measures of hardship.
- According to national statistics, students for whom English is a second language are three times as likely as native English speakers to be low academic achievers. They are also twice as likely to be held back to repeat a grade level.