Iowa Faces Shortage Of English Language Teachers
STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) – Iowa school districts are struggling to meet the need for more English language teachers amid growing demand from students and stagnant state funding.
The Des Moines Register reports that enrollment in English language learner programs has grown five times in the last 25 years to more than 27,200 students in 2016. Forty-one percent of students in Storm Lake are still learning English.
State funding for ELL programs and services has nearly doubled over the last 10 years from $25.9 million in 2006 to $55.4 million in 2016. Still, Iowa educators say school districts need more state funding to cover additional years of ELL classes for students who have difficulty picking up English.
Recent efforts to continue increasing state funding haven’t gained traction, including legislation introduced this session that would’ve boosted per-student state funding from five to seven years.