Plaintiff parents testified for MALDEF.
Michael Clough—Superintendent of Sheridan School District
- 1,600 students, 80% of students quality for free or reduced lunch, almost 80% Hispanic students, and close to 1/3 of the student population are ELL
- The fastest growing population in the district is students from East Africa.
- The district does not have enough resources to help at risk and ELL students meet state standards.
- The district has implemented programs and interventions with grant money, but these are not sustainable or broad based.
- The district is accredited with a turn-around plan, and only one school has been given a turn around grant.
- The district faces challenges with students who are homeless, students who come from poverty, and non-English speaking students. This creates a dynamic of addressing these needs first before students can then be prepared to learn.
- The district has many characteristics of a small rural district that is compounded by urban issues.
- It is difficult for the district to compete for teachers both for the challenges the district has and the pay it can offer.
- The district is attractive for some grants, but they can’t compete with larger districts when grantors feel they can get more recognition in a district that is larger.
Dr. Kathy Escamilla—Professor at University of Colorado, Boulder, Bilingual Education Expert
- From Dr. Escamillia’s expert report:
- “Colorado has experienced the largest growth in the number of children living in poverty of any state in the United States.”
- “The population of ELLs in Colorado is disproportionately poor and therefore it is reasonable to assume that much of the increase in the number of poor children is also highly correlated to the increased number of ELLs, the largest number being in preschool.”
- “…there is little state support for the type of effective instructional and support programs for ELLs mandated by No Child Left Behind…”
- “…achievement trends that show that achievement levels for ELL students decline as students move into higher grades.”
- “…the ELL graduation rate in 2009 that the state reported at 53% …[This is] a percentage well below the state average of 75%.”