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I have to confess, I really haven’t written enough about English learners.

I wanted to. I know English learners have pressing needs in San Diego County schools. But as an education reporter, I’ve frankly been intimidated by the topic. The words “English learner” sometimes seem to stop the conversation about improving schools instead of starting it. And while I’ve gotten used to wading through edu-speak, language acquisition has a lingo all its own.

But I’m trying to break my bad habit. And I’m hoping you can help.

I plan to delve into English learner issues, one story at a time, over the coming months. Yesterday I wrote about how Pacific Beach Middle School is testing out one way to help long term English learners.

This is a topic I find fascinating: Why do some children gain fluency while others struggle year after year? How could it change? It’s a major problem for schools: Nearly 40 percent of English learners in San Diego Unified fail to become fluent by the time they reach middle school. And schools are now starting to take a close look at why.

I’ll be in Guatemala for the next week trying to get along in a second language of my own. But while I’m out, I’d love to get your thoughts, stories and tips on English learners, especially the long-term learners. Tell me about your school, your child, your take. Maybe you can lead me to the next intriguing story.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/emilyschoolsyou.

Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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