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Educating English Language Learners: Opportunities for Improved Infrastructure

PERC research is produced through collaboration between researchers from Research for Action and the School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Research and Evaluation. For more information, please visit

In Philadelphia, a growing and increasingly diverse population of English Language Learners (ELLs) is intensifying demands on the city’s public schools as they work to meet the educational needs of these students. As in many cities across the country, educators in Philadelphia are searching for ways to more efficiently and effectively meet the needs of ELLs and close long-standing achievement gaps between ELLs and their native English-speaking peers.

As a group, ELLs are diverse, coming from a variety of native languages, cultures, and educational backgrounds, posing unique opportunities and challenges for schools. In their efforts to serve the needs of ELLs, schools grapple with many complex issues; within the City of Philadelphia, many district and charter schools navigate similar issues in coordinating robust ELL programs.