ECISD Sees A Record Increase In ESL Students, Fight to Combat Funding and Teacher Shortage 11/14/12
CBS 7 News Reporter
November 14, 2012
ODESSA, TX - The rise of bilingual and ESL students is skyrocketing across the state, including right here in the Permian basin. But cuts in federal funding and a lack of teachers are creating a big problem for local school districts.
Maria Mascaraque is one of the few bilingual teachers in Ector County Independent School District.
" I think it is really important that they learn more than one language. Fifty percent of the time they are in Spanish and fifty percent of the time they are in English. But they can choose French, German, or Russian as a third language," said bilingual 4th grade teacher at Cameron Elementary, Maria Mascaraque.
While the number of teachers applying to work in the school district is decreasing, the number ESL students are adding up. The amount is reaching higher totals than ever before.
"Our limited English proficiency language [program] grew by 400 students and out of those, 185 are a part of the bilingual program …172 in the English as a second language program, " said Pilar Moreno, ECISD Bilingual & ESL Executive Director
Moreno stated that they’ve searched nationally and internationally to get more teachers. However continual cuts in federal funding and finding teachers that meet the qualifications are continual problems.
"We are finding problems in the area of finding personnel…that have a masters in bilingual education or certifications to teach in the bilingual industry, " said Moreno.
Now the school district is offering new incentives, such as paying for ESL certifications to get more teachers to fill the void.
ECISD is also working closely with UTPB to bring more new teachers to work in their school district.