With a dramatic increase in immigrants coming to the United States, schools are struggling with an overpopulation of English language learners (ELLs). We often think about the 4.5 million K-12 students aiming to master English in schools, and all the resources educators provide to assist them in their educational journey. But what about their parents, older siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who are also ELLs? Without the support system found in schools, their efforts to find a better life and experience the American dream are often blocked by a language barrier.
Adult ELLs make up a significant part of the estimated 36 million adults in the U.S. who read at a 3rd-grade level or below. This growing population is expected to find jobs and provide for their families without any formal education in the English language. Only about 10% of this group is served by adult education, making them one of the most underserved populations in our educational system.