Prince George’s County, Maryland

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F E D E R A T I O NF O RA M E R I C A NI M M I G R A T I O NR E F O R MPrince George’s County, MarylandE NG LISH LEAR N E RS AN D I M M IG RATION : A CASE STU DYA REPORT BY ERIC RUARK, SENIOR RESEARCHER

Prince George’s County, MarylandE NG LISH LEAR N E RS AN D I M M IG RATION : A CASE STU DYA REPORT BY ERIC RUARK, SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATENOVEMBER 2009

Executive SummaryEven while Maryland’s population has grown over the last decade, the number of students in thestate’s public schools has declined. At the same time, the number of students in Maryland schoolswho are not proficient in English has more than doubled.The rapid increase in students who struggle to comprehend and communicate in English is anunwelcome cost burden for Maryland taxpayers. Furthermore, the money spent to teach studentsbasic English-language skills depletes the resources available to fund educational programs for thechildren of native-born Marylanders.Immigration patterns in Maryland also add to the strain on local schools. The overwhelmingmajority of students who lack proficiency in English are enrolled in public schools in theWashington, D.C. metro area. This report examines the impact that non-English speaking studentsare having on Prince George’s County, where this population has grown by 96 percent just between2004 and 2008 while overall student enrollment has decreased by almost 7 percent.Prince George’s County has one-third of all English-language learner students in the state ofMaryland, and more then one in ten students in the County’s public schools are not proficient inEnglish. In its current school budget Prince George’s County has allocated a total of 60.2 millionfor the education of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students, though the total costs of thesestudents is much higher. Based on the Prince George’s Board of Education’s budget for fiscal year2010, the amount spent on LEP education could likely be over 300 million.Not to be lost in the discussion of the dollar cost of LEP education is the impact that non-Englishspeaking students have on the quality of education for the children of native-born Marylanders.While this is hard to quantify, it is a question that should not be ignored. Prince George’s Countyschools have consistently ranked at the bottom in state assessments of student performance and it iscurrently the only county that Maryland’s Department of Education has marked for “correctiveaction.” As the proportion of non-English speaking students continues to grow, Prince George’sCounty schools will find it increasingly more difficult to provide its students with a qualityeducation.IntroductionThe federal government’s failure to enforce immigration laws and its current policy of allowing thelegal entry of over one million immigrants into the U.S. each year is profoundly felt on the locallevel.Nowhere is the impact of the federal government’s failed immigration policies more clearly evidentthan in the nation’s public schools. In areas where immigration levels are high, public schools must

cope both with a rapidly increasing foreign student population, and with a larger percentage ofstudents who do not speak English. The bulk of the funding necessary to support these studentscomes not from the federal government, but is paid for with state and local money, largely fromproperty taxes levied at the city or county level.Historically, students lacking English-language skills were concentrated in urban schools. Recentimmigration patterns, however, have brought large numbers of immigrants, legal and illegal, intoAmerica’s suburbs, and their children into suburban schools.1 These school systems are nowbeginning to confront the same challenges traditionally faced by public schools in America’s largecities — the struggle to accommodate immigrant students while maintaining their educationalresponsibilites to native-born children.When a student speaks little to no English, public schools must concentrate considerable resourceson teaching that student basic English skills. And because the poverty-rate of immigrants,particularly illegal aliens, is much higher than for citizens or legal residents, schools must alsoaccommodate other needs, such as free and reduced lunches, and outreach programs for parents whodo not speak English.2The Foreign-born in MarylandAccording to an April 2009 study by the Pew Hispanic Center, immigration patterns to the UnitedStates have changed significantly over the past two decades.3 While traditionally high immigrationstates, such as California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, and New York are still receiving large numbers ofimmigrants, other states have seen a marked increase in their foreign-born population. Maryland isone of many states whose recent population growth is being driven largely by immigration.The Census Bureau estimated the foreign-born population in Maryland in 2008 at 697,609, 12.4percent of the total population.4 Foreign-born residents have contributed to over half of Maryland’stotal population increase since 2000.5 While Maryland’s native-born population grew by 3.3percent between 2000 and 2008, its foreign-born population increased by 34.6 percent. FAIRestimates that 250,000 persons, approximately 36 percent of Maryland’s total foreign-bornpopulation, are illegal aliens.6The rapid rise in Maryland’s immigrant population is a microcosm of what is happening nationally.Maryland’s foreign-born population — roughly one in eight residents — mirrors that of the U.S. asa whole. However, in comparison with other states, Maryland has a higher percentage than moststates, ranking 12th out of 51 (including the District of Columbia) in the percentage of foreign-bornresidents, and 11th overall in illegal alien population.7 Maryland’s immigrant population is alsodisproportionately concentrated in the Washington, D.C. metro area, drawn by the availability ofEnglish Learners and Immigration: A Case Study of Prince George's County, MarylandPage 2 of 16

jobs and lax immigration enforcement measures which have encouraged large numbers of illegalaliens to settle in the region.8Limited English Proficiency (LEP) EnrollmentWith the rise of the foreign-born population, both legal and illegal, come more students who lackproficiency in English, and evidence indicates that the children of illegal aliens are substantially lessproficient in English than their peers whose parents are in the U.S. legally.9 Between 2000 and 2007,the LEP population in the U.S. over the age of 5 increased by 15 percent to a total of 24,469,011.10Maryland’s LEP population has grown faster than the national average, 28 percent between 2000and 2007, to reach 314,204.11Across Maryland, the number of LEP students in public schools almost doubled in the ten yearperiod from 1995-96 to 2005-06, going from 15,325 to 29,778, according to the U.S. Departmentof Education.12 The increase in the number of LEP students is concurrent with an 11.5 percentdecrease in total student enrollment in the state, thus raising the percentage of LEP students inMaryland from 1.6 percent in 1995-96 to 3.5 percent in 2005-06.13LEP Enrollment in Maryland Public Schools 0,02129,7783.5The LEP data recorded by the federalgovernment only counts those students formallyenrolled in Maryland’s LEP program. The totalnumber of students who received LEP services atsome point throughout a given school year maybe considerably higher. For instance, Maryland’sState Department of Education put the numberof LEP students in 2005-06 at 31,905, 2,127more than are listed in the federal count.15 By2007-08, Maryland recorded its number of LEPstudents at 40,953, a jump of 28 percent in justtwo years.16 Meanwhile, the overall studentpopulation in those two years decreased by14,321 students, putting the percentage of LEPstudents in Maryland’s school in 2008 at 4.8percent and growing rapidly.17Paying for LEP EducationAs the LEP student population has continued to rise in Maryland, so too has the money spent by thestate to educate them. According to state budget figures, Maryland will spend 148.6 million onLEP education in 2010.Federation for American Immigration ReformPage 3 of 16

Like other states, Maryland is currently facing a sizeable budget deficit. Even with more than threequarters of a billion dollars in budget cuts, the state is still looking at a 1.5 billion dollar shortfall infiscal 2011.18 Governor Martin O’Malley was saved from having to make massive cuts to educationfunding in the current budget because of federal money received under the American Recovery andReinvestment Act (AARA).19 However, this stimulus money was a one-time payout and does notaddress the structural problems facing school funding — increasing budgetary demands and reducedtax revenues resulting from declining property values and the overall contraction of the economy.Even with the infusion of federal dollars,Governor O’Malley still had to reduce sharplyspending on education, including the delayedexpansion of pre-kindergarten programs, theelimination of programs for gifted andtalented students, and training for teachersand administrators.20 School meals programsacross the state are also facing mountingfinancial shortfalls.21 Meanwhile, funding forLimited English Proficiency (LEP) programsfor English-language learners has continued toincrease. Just since 2005, the money spentannually by the state to fund LEP educationhas nearly tripled.The Hidden Cost of LEP EducationDespite the budgetary constraints and the influx of LEP students, Maryland’s education system hasreceived accolades. For 2008, Education Week ranked the public school system in Maryland first inthe nation based, in part, on student performance on standardized tests, college readiness of its highschool graduates, and per pupil spending on K-12 education.22 Newsweek and the College Boardalso had praise for Maryland’s public high schools.23Yet, Maryland has some schools where student performance on standardized tests is well below thenational average, where drop-out rates are very high, and the percentage of graduating seniors goingon to college is very low.24 These schools happen to be located in areas that have experienced thehighest rates of immigration in the state over the last two decades.25 The data used in the EducationWeek study that placed Maryland’s public school first in the nation left out an important categorythat would have affected the state’s overall score: the large and growing number of students whowere classified as “English-language learners.”26English Learners and Immigration: A Case Study of Prince George's County, MarylandPage 4 of 16

The money being spent on LEP education raises the overall education budget and increasesMaryland’s per pupil spending. While such increases may appear to be a positive development,looking only at the raw numbers can obscure how that money is being spent. Those students whoare not English proficient require a disproportionate share of education dollars – up to twice asmuch per LEP pupil according to some cost estimates.27 Instead of money being spent to improvethe classroom conditions for native-born students, ever-increasing portions of the education budgetare going to LEP education.28 While there have been recent cuts in state spending on education,LEP spending continues to increase.LEP education is also time intensive. An LEP student generally spends several school years in theprogram. The percentage of LEP students whose language proficiency improved sufficiently to allowthem to make the transition to the educational mainstream during the 2006-2007 school year wasjust under 19 percent.29 This means that 81 percent of the existing LEP students needed furtherEnglish language instruction for at least another year. Because of ongoing high levels of newimmigration, these holdovers were joined by the new LEP students who were enrolled in the system.Even after many years in the public school system, LEP students score consistently lower in readingand mathematics with the gap growing larger in the upper grades.30A 2008 study by the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, which is funded bythe U.S. Department of Education, found that there is a noticeable “achievement gap” betweennative English speakers and students whose first language is not English, “even after these [LEP]children have spent five or six years in U.S. schools.”31Prince George’s CountyThe impact of large-scale immigration on the education system can be best seen in places where thegrowth of the LEP student body has been the most dramatic. Maryland’s foreign-born populationhas tended to settle in the Washington, D.C. metro area, with Prince George’s County receiving alarge share of immigrants. The County has seen the highest net increase in foreign-born populationin Maryland over the last decade, and is second only to Montgomery County in both the numberand percentage of foreign-born residents. Prince George’s County had 155,836 foreign-bornresidents in 2007 — 18.8 percent of the total population. The nearly 156,000 foreign-born residentsrepresent a 41 percent increase in that population since 2000. Taking a somewhat longer view, the2007 foreign-born population represented a 123 percent increase over 1990, and a 289 percentincrease since 1980.32Prince George’s County has also seen a large increase in its illegal alien population, resulting, in part,from its status as a “sanctuary” county, meaning that it has policies accommodating illegal residents.A 2003 resolution directed county law enforcement officers to “refrain from enforcing immigrationFederation for American Immigration ReformPage 5 of 16

matters” in order to avoid “driving a wedge between immigrant communities and the police.”33FAIR estimates the illegal alien population of Prince George’s County at 70,000, or about 45percent of the County’s total foreign-born population.34The increase in the foreign-born population in Prince George’s County has resulted in a largeconcentration of people who are not proficient in English. Almost half of Maryland’s total LEPpopulation resides in Prince George’s County, where they comprise about 17 percent of theCounty’s total population.35 As the number of people who do not speak English has grown, so toohas the LEP population in county schools, topping 10 percent of the total student population in2007-08.According to the Maryland State Department of Education, 70.2 percent of LEP students arelocated within the Washington, D.C. Metro area comprised of Prince George’s and MontgomeryCounties.36 Prince George’s County classified 13,825 public school students as English languagelearners in the 2007-08 school year.37 This represents more than one-third of all English languagelearners in the state.38Exacerbating the educational and budgetary challenges has been the explosive growth in the numberof LEP students enrolling in Prince George’s County schools. In the last four years alone, thenumber has nearly doubled, now comprising approximately 11 percent of the County’s schoolpopulation in the 2007-08 school year.39 This increase in students whose first language is notEnglish has occurred as the total enrollment in Prince George’s County schools has decreased overthe same period by more than 8,000 students.40While the population of Prince George’sCounty continues to rise, largely from itsforeign-born population, the state ofMaryland anticipates that the overalldecline in school enrollment in PrinceGeorge’s County will continue, at leastthrough 2012.42 If the trend of increasedenrollment by English-language learnerscontinues at its current pace, by 2012 theywill makeup a fifth of all students in theCounty.43LEP Enrollment in PG County Public 1713,82510.8%English Learners and Immigration: A Case Study of Prince George's County, MarylandPage 6 of 16

Most Common Languages Other Than English Spoken by ForeignBorn students in Prince George’s County Public Schools nameseIboMandarinUrduAmharicJamaican CreoleArabicStudent Count15,798626391315292269218159156148110106Cost Of LEPThe funding necessary to accommodate English-language learners is substantial. For FY 2010 theamount set aside for LEP education constitutes 3.6 percent of the total Prince George’s Countyschool budget.45 Most of the LEP funding comes from the state, with the county providingsupplemental spending. The federal government, which is primarily responsible for enacting andenforcing immigration laws, contributes only a negligible amount.46LEP Spending in Prince George’s County 2005-201047200520062007200820092010 1,271.648,500 1,376,818,700 1,493,401,600 1,655,211,600 1,679,504,028 ,741,3251,699,8482,393,7002,428,7892,609,927Total EducationBudgetLEP SpendingStateFederation for American Immigration ReformPage 7 of 16

The LEP student population absorbs a sizeable proportion of school funds, but much of the cost ofLEP education in Prince George’s County is not readily visible. Calculating the cost of LEPeducation simply by looking at its line item in a budget does not measure the full cost. Students whoare classified as LEP have a specific curriculum tailored to meet their educational needs, requiring“high-quality language instruction.”48 The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)program in Prince George’s County, which is tasked with the instruction of LEP students, runs fromKindergarten through Grade 12 and has extensive administrative and support services, including theInternational School Counseling Office, and an Interpreter Bank that can provide interpretation in48 languages for parent/teacher conferences and various other events.49The total cost must include teachers, aides, and administrators, and ESOL liaison, as well as the useof classroom space, textbooks, and educational materials. Prince George’s County Public Schoolsdoes not make readily available the total number of administrators, teachers and staff associated withthe ESOL program, nor the total cost associated with the program.50 Prince George’s County doeslist 104 out of 208 schools as having an ESOL program. The number of ESOL staff at a particularschool varies, but to use Parkdale High School as an example, there are 19 staff listed in the ESOLdepartment, according to its website.51 Parkdale also states that students from 29 countries from 21different “language groups” are in its ESOL program.52There have been efforts made to estimate the full cost of LEP education in Maryland. A 2001 reportprepared for the Maryland Commission on Education Finance, Equity and Excellence, the so-called“Thornton Commission,” found that the added cost of “adequately” educating English-languagelearners was equal to the base cost per student, i.e., it costs twice as much to teach an LEP student asit does a native English-speaking student.53 Using the Thornton Commission’s cost basis and thereported per pupil spending for 2007-08, the price tag for providing a year’s instruction to LEPstudents in Prince George’s County would have been 24,214.Other studies estimate a somewhat lower, though still substantial additional cost for studentsenrolled in LEP program. A 2009 study conducted by the Maine legislature comparing the per pupilspending on English-language learners in all U.S. states estimates that in Maryland such instructionadds about 50 percent to the total cost. Applying that cost basis would place LEP per pupil annualspending in Prince Georg

Prince George’s County has one-third of all English-language learner students in the state of Maryland, and more then one in ten students in the County’s public schools are not proficient in English. In its current school budget Prince

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