The Absence of Language-focused Teacher Education Policy in U.S. K12 Contexts
The number of English learners in grades K12 in public schools in the United States is close to five million, which is about one learner in nine, and demographers estimate that in 20 years it is likely be one in four learners. ELs have lower standardized test scores and lower high school graduation rates than their native-English-speaking peers. Furthermore, language minority students, including ELs, are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math teachers (STEM). In the United States, there are no national policies regarding the education of STEM. STEM education is of utmost importance in the United States and in developing countries throughout the world because modern economies revolve around expertise in STEM fields. In the absence of explicit policy on how to educate US science teachers and in the context of teacher accountability through high-stakes testing, content standards have become the guiding principles around which teachers are educated and evaluated.