How Much Longer Will Bridgeport’s ELL Students Be Forsaken?

Let’s do a little test: Imagine any Bridgeport school. Pick any 100 high school kids who speak English as a second language.

Quick — how many do you think can read on grade level?

The answer is … 19.

Yes, you read that correctly. Out of every 100 Bridgeport high school kids who speak English as a second language, 81 of them are reading below grade level.

While certainly disturbing, that reality should not be surprising. The current Bridgeport Board of Education leadership is happier silencing dissent than solving that problem.

The good news is, the proposed Great Oaks Charter School is up for approval next week, and it’s based on a model that has both proven successful and is designed to meet the needs of Bridgeport’s upper grade ELL students.

If you need a proof point, consider that Great Oaks in Newark is one of the best city schools for math and English. Bridgeport kids deserve that kind of success.

Why in the world would anyone in their right mind be against this proposal? Please, someone tell me — I honestly can’t figure it out.

And, if you have any doubt of the need, let’s take the same quiz in other cities. Out of every 100 10th grade students who speak English as a second language, how many can read at grade level in … Hartford? Twenty-nine out of 100, not great but significantly better than Bridgeport

How about Stamford, Fairfield County’s other big city? Forty-three — more than double the number of kids in Bridgeport — out of every 100.

The reality is, if you live in Bridgeport and don’t speak English at home, you are not being given a fair chance to succeed. Great Oaks can help solve that problem.



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