Visiting Indiana

I’m giving one of the talks this year at the Crossroads Conference (tomorrow) at Purdue University. It’s an annual conference sponsored by NSSLHA. Anyway, I usually like to look at the demographic changes in ELL enrollment when I visit a state. I think it helps me to situate what the needs might be concerning bilinguals and helps me to see the challenges that some of the speech-language pathologists might be facing.

Of course we always expect states like Texas, California, Florida and New York to have large bilingual populations. These are the states that many immigrants first arrive in; and they are entry points and borders that can help explain shifts in the population. But the picture in Indiana shows a huge increase in the ELL population. As of 2005 the 10 year increase was between 400 and 700%. I know I know, if there was 1 ELL child, and how there’s 8 that’s a 700% increase. But, I don’t think that’s it.

Demographic data shows that there were in 2008, 46,000 ELL children– about a 400% increase. That’s a huge shift in a state where there were previously so few. According to the Colorin Colorado website, the top languages are Spanish, German, Pennsylvania Dutch, Dutch, and French.

So, just a little tidbit on ELLs in Indiana, there’s a lot to do!

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