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Odis Johnson quoted in the Washington Post

Schools for English-language learners may help close the achievement gap in Prince George’s County

Tensions are rising in Prince George’s County (Maryland), where the local chapter of the NAACP opposes a plan to start two new schools devoted to English language learners who are struggling academically. Critics of the plan say that by devoting valuable resources to separate schools for English learners, the school district is putting the needs of newcomers ahead of other students. Critics have also questioned whether the proposed plan violates Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court decision that ruled racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

MPRC faculty associate Odis Johnson disagrees. Johnson believes that the new schools for English-language learners will help close the achievement gap in Prince George’s County, where only 63% of English language learners graduate on time (compared to 74% of all students). “Not moving forward with the creation of these ELL schools in Prince George’s County would not only be a failure to take appropriate action, but it also would be inconsistent with the spirit of Brown,” he said.

Proponents of the plan say that similar schools have been successful elsewhere, and that the new schools will help English-language learners of all backgrounds, whose needs are not being adequately served in the current system.  

Read the story in the Washington Post