Lara’s Bill, the First in the Nation to Create a Definition for Long Term English Learners Signed in to Law

September 21, 2012

AB 2193 Creates a Definition for Long Term English Learners and Requires the Department of Education to Collect Data on their Progress on an Annual Basis

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – Today, Governor Jerry Brown advanced educational access for long term English learners by signing AB 2193 by Assembly Member Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) in to law.  AB 2193 prevents English learners at risk of becoming Long Term English Learners (LTEL) from falling through the cracks of our educational system by creating a definition for this group of students and by requiring the California Department of Education to collect data on LTELs on annual basis and report the findings to each school and school district in the state.

“AB 2193 will make English learners visible by identifying and defining a group of students with very unique language and academic needs. Schools and districts will now have the tools to properly track and address their progress toward improvement,” said Lara.

According to Californians Together, in the past 25 years, the English learner population has doubled to approximately 1.4 million in California’s public school system.  Of English learners enrolled in grades 6-12 in California public schools for more than six years, an alarming 59% stagnate at low levels of English proficiency and academic achievement. Although California mandates public schools address the language barriers confronting our state’s English learners, a disproportionate number of California’s English learners never attain fluent English proficiency.

Specifically, AB 2193 defines in the Education Code the term ‘Long Term English Learner’ and the term ‘English learner at risk of becoming a Long Term English Learner’ resulting in a uniform statewide definition of these two student groups. The measure also requires the California Department of Education to annually compile the number of students who are LTELs and at risk of becoming LTEL and report the number of students who are LTEL and who are at risk of becoming LTEL’s to each school and school district.

The measure is the first ever effort in the nation to focus on Long Term English Learners and will provide direction for California and states throughout the country. The bill was sponsored by both Californians Together and California Association for Bilingual Education.   Californians Together is a statewide coalition of parents, teachers, education advocates and civil rights groups committed to securing equal access to quality education for all children. The California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promote bilingual education and quality educational experiences for all students in California.