We speak with Dr. Julie Sugarman of the Migration Policy Institute about meeting the needs of English Learners. We discuss the meaning and implications of ELs “falling behind” during virtual instruction and difficulties administering upcoming English language proficiency tests. Dr. Sugarman talks about a model for incorporating ELs into planning. She also talks about what is lost (and gained) through technology, given the importance of personal relationships to teaching and learning.


00:00-00:40 Intros

00:40-02:32 English Language Learners (ELs) and how they receive instruction

02:32-03:31 What research shows about language acquisition

03:31-11:46 Legal and ethical aspects of English language instruction; status around the country

11:46-15:00 Challenges facing ELs and ENL teachers during the pandemic and efforts to overcome them

15:00-17:05 Involvement of parents during the pandemic

17:05-17:50 Varying terms/ synonyms for ESL/ESOL/ENL teachers

17:50-18:22 Nashville as an example of a district centering ELs in planning

18:22-21:30 Issues with taking the English language proficiency test during the pandemic

21:30-23:20 English language proficiency tests’ quality

23:20-25:04 Experience with Betsy DeVos’s  Education Department

25:04-26:56 Recommendations to Biden Administration

26:56-30:20 Technology and ELs post-pandemic

30:20-31:45 Outro


Click here to see the full transcription of this episode. 


Soundtrack by Podington Bear