An exploration of Indiana's English language learner language programming models
Indiana provides a unique context for the study of English learner (EL) K-12 language program models, as it is home to the nation's second fastest growing EL population (Migration Policy Institute, 2010). Despite exponential growth of the state's EL community, Indiana is one of 15 states that does not require either bilingual or EL preparation for pre-service teachers and school leaders (Tanenbaum et al., 2012). Additionally, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) neither expects nor requires teachers who work with ELs to be bilingual or EL-certified. The impetus for this study was the growing demand from Indiana bilingual/EL leaders to understand the variant ways the state’s K-12 English language programs were conceptualized and instituted, especially for schools with predominantly Hispanic communities. This study contributes to the limited amount of research on bilingual and EL programming models in Midwestern schools with relatively recent and growing Hispanic populations. The primary purpose of this study was to examine how Indiana’s bilingual/EL district leaders implement, negotiate, and perceive the effectiveness of their English language programs. In this survey study, we examined the characteristics of Indiana’s bilingual education/English learner (BE/EL) district leaders and how they implement, negotiate, and perceive the effectiveness of their instructional program models for emergent bilinguals (EBs). We developed a survey to investigate the following: 1) the backgrounds and experiences of BE/EL leaders, and 2) the types of bilingual and EL programs implemented by participants' districts. Preliminary findings show that a variety of BE/EL program models operate concurrently even within the same district and that bilingual education programming is rare for emergent bilinguals.