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The Escondido Union High School District got some respect in an otherwise troubling report on how to improve education for English learners in California.

The report, created by a coalition of parent and activist groups called Californians Together, found the majority of English learners have been in U.S. schools for more than six years without gaining adequate English skills. It chalks up the problem to a lack of effective school curricula for English learners, inconsistent programs and other lapses in English learner education. Many are stuck at the intermediate level and struggle without the academic vocabulary they need to understand classes.

Yet few school districts have tackled the problems of long-term English learners, the report found. One of the exceptions that Californians Together highlighted was Escondido, which it credited for a series of classes called “Spanish for Native Speakers” that helped increase the rates of Latino students taking Advanced Placement classes and going to college.

The Californians Together report also makes several recommendations, including that all school districts in California use a single, common definition of “long-term English learners,” training teachers to work more effectively with English learners and investing in research on their needs.

— EMILY ALPERT

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