Abundant research demonstrates the benefits of learning English—for educational attainment, employment, earnings, homeownership, civic participation, and naturalization. Much more could be done to help immigrants to the United States acquire the skills they need, survival English as well as the higher levels of proficiency that allow a new American to excel.
- Capacity in English-as-a-second-language (ESL) instruction falls far short of what’s needed in quantity and quality: demand far outstrips supply and many teachers are inexperienced.
- A newly arrived immigrant eager to learn English is bombarded by outreach and advertising: the array is dizzying, and there’s virtually no guidance to help would-be learners find the course that’s right for them.
- Federal spending—which, along with state spending, likely funds about two-thirds of ESL instruction—is faddish, while federal reporting requirements are burdensome.