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Fewer English Language Learners – or More than Meet the Eye?

This article explains the complex population statistics surrounding English language learners (ELLs). While the numbers have been declining since 2006, such fluctuations are not uncommon within a period of overall growth and do not necessarily translate into reduced need for services at most schools. While numbers overall have declined, several schools still have growing ELL populations. The article draws a distinction between the number of immigrants and the number of ELLs in schools, explaining that while the number of immigrants in Philadelphia might have increased, federal funding, which is based on the number of ELLs will decrease. Problems with funding arise because Puerto Rican students are not classified as immigrants and because the district cannot anticipate reversals in trends.