Mississippi one of six states that does not provide for English - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi one of six states that does not provide for English Language Learners

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
MORTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi is one of six states that does not provide additional funding for its English language learners; those are students who do not speak English as a primary language. 

Kathy Vaughn has been helping non-English speaking students at Morton Elementary School for over 13 years. 

"I started off with probably 12 kids," explained Vaughn. "That was all I had in the whole K5 through 4th grade and that's grown to 177. We have a family from Yemen, which is Arabic, and we have Vietnamese then we have the Hispanics but the Hispanics are from countries. For example, we have families from Guatemala who have different dialects. Some speak mum and chun, not just Spanish."

While Morton Elementary School does get some federal funding for English Language Learners. this is an area of education that state lawmakers do not provide for. Vaughn says that leaves these students to learn off of out-dated machines or home-made flash cards.

"You cannot actually buy this anymore, I've tried. They don't make that one, which is bad because we lose one or two every year," added Vaughn. "But all four of us will, also, have cards that we will be flashing because we don't have enough machines for everybody to get on at the same time."

In 2002, the state reported 2,250 public school students used ELL programs, that going up to nearly 6,000 by 2011. A trend, Vaughn believes, will continue to rise as more businesses move into the state.

"In the next couple of years, they are talking about building another chicken plant," Vaughn explained. "The mayor said there would be close to 1700 new jobs and that means more students for us. Our school is already busting at the seams."

State Senator Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula says creating funding for ELL programs was one of the 14 recommendations made by Ed Build when lawmakers were discussing a new education funding formula. He tells MSNewsNow this should be a major issue discussed in the upcoming legislative season.

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