This paper will explore what the changing landscape of American education means for second language acquisition. In recent decades, it has become increasingly clear that the current educational system in America is not sustainable. In particular, high school systems have been under scrutiny from many actors, including educators, policymakers, and parents of current and future students (Hemelt & Marcotte,2016). Many aspects of this system are in desperate need of reform, and the field is often more focused on finding an immediate solution to a current problem than on the long-term effects of these changes.
How does this affect second language acquisition?
A large body of literature has established the importance of the educational system on foreign language learning. This body of research has demonstrated that students learn more when they can interact and apply their acquired skills within a school setting. For example, recent studies have shown that students who learn a second language in a classroom environment receive better results than those who understand it at home or in other settings. The importance of the educational environment is seen throughout the literature in which researchers have written extensively about the benefits of learning during an instructional context.
In the past thirty years, significant changes in the American educational landscape have affected second language acquisition. The first change is that foreign languages are no longer required for graduation from high school in most states (Toppin & Toppin, 2016). In 2017, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), only 17 states required a foreign language class for high school graduation. This act used to be a common practice statewide; with this new development, students’ likelihood of studying a second language decreases significantly. A 2011 survey conducted by NCES showed that out of fifty-one million public school students, just 9% had taken at least one year of foreign language classes by 12th grade.
Native Speakers Acquiring a Second Language
The most important feature that distinguishes us from other species is our ability to communicate. As a result, language acquisition is the most striking part of human growth, both psychologically and cognitively. Normal people, on the other hand, learn the language they first encounter as children. They may learn numerous languages as a result, but those languages will always be distinct from the first language to which they were exposed.
Learning a second language may be both enjoyable and challenging. It can open up new avenues in a person’s life and profession, such as enabling one to communicate with neighbours from another nation or giving a leg up on a bilingual role at work (NG, 2016). Yet, few individuals ever study a second language despite its many advantages since mastering one is tough. This difficulty can be attributed to a variety of factors. One of the more controversial topics in second language learning is the role of a student’s native language.
Studies that promote the use of the native language frequently advocate for translation, claiming that regular translation from a student’s native language to their second language and vice versa aids in recognising similar root words and forming essential linkages. This, in turn, leads to a more in-depth examination of each language’s elements of speech and greater knowledge of how each language functions. Understanding key components of speech and actual words can help learners start speaking in their second language.
The extent to which learning a second language affects native-language function is unknown, and hence understanding the interaction of two languages inside a single cognitive system is lacking. Furthermore, the process of learning a second language is frequently seen as distinct from that of learning a first language (Williams, & Rebuschat, 2016). However, it is generally understood that knowing a second language influences one’s capacity to handle information in one’s native language, and contemporary cognitive and psycholinguistic models of bilingualism expressly state that the two languages interact, even during language-specific processing.
During second language acquisition, native speaker’s interlanguage is influenced by their original language, and this crosslinguistic effect is dependent on the structural link between the two languages. The transmission of structures from the original language to the second language is the primary source of native language impact (Williams & Rebuschat, 2016). Positive transfer occurs when the structure of both languages is identical or similar, and it has been observed to occur more frequently in circumstances when the structure is identical or similar for both languages. On the other hand, a negative transfer is thought to obstruct acquisition and has been observed, especially when the languages are distinct.
English Language Learners.
English-language learners, or ELLs, struggle to communicate or learn in English, commonly from non-English-speaking households and origins, and who require additional or adapted education in both the English language and their academic subjects. English-language learners, on the whole, lack the English-language skills required to fully engage in American culture or attain their full academic potential in educational institutions environments where teaching is offered primarily or totally in English. Students are classified as English-language learners in most scenarios after completing a comprehensive evaluation of their English proficiency, including tests in reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension (García, & Frede, 2019). If the evaluation findings show that the students struggle in formal classroom courses, they may be placed in dual-language or English as a second language class.
According to Gándara & Santibañez (2016), learners who were formerly classed as limited English competent but developed English-language abilities that have allowed them to transfer into regular academic courses delivered in English are also considered English-language learners. Thus, while the student’s assessment scores may show that they have reached an English literacy level that permits them to engage and excel in English-only learning contexts, they may still experience difficulties with academic language.
English-language learners are not only the fastest-growing sector of the school-age population in the United States, but they also constitute a vast array of languages, cultures, races, nations, and economic and social origins. While most English learners were born in the United States, their parents and grandparents are frequently immigrants who speak their original language at home. Furthermore, English-language learners may confront several obstacles that may impede their learning progress and academic accomplishments, such as poverty, family instability, or non-citizenship status, to mention a few.
Factors That Affect Access at the Local, State, and Federal Level
In this article, I’ll be going over the factors that affect access at the local, state, and federal levels concerning second language acquisition. I will give you a breakdown of the critical factors that affect second language acquisition and the policies and legislation to create equal opportunities for all Americans. As this is a complex and broad topic, I’ll also be going over some resources for further research.
In the United States, approximately 50 million people, 20% of the population, speak a language other than English at home(Núñez,2014). In school districts nationwide, around 3 million students in preschool through high school have limited English proficiency. This act means that out of the 3.3 million LEP students in the U.S., 66 percent are enrolled in elementary or secondary schools, and 34 percent are enrolled in preschool programs.
Four key factors affect SPEAKER access to speakers of other languages at the local, state, and federal level: Education and schools, Language proficiency assessments, state and local policy development.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 report, 66.2% of all adults 25-64 years old speak a language other than English at home; 56 million people across the U.S. The number of limited English proficient (LEP) individuals is growing as more and more people immigrate from Spanish-speaking countries to the U.S., many of whom are bilingual and speak English and Spanish.

As of 2008, approximately 21 million people in the U.S. speak a language other than English at home. Of these 21 million, 3.1 million are preschoolers, 9.9 million are kindergarten-aged children, 6.4 million are primary and secondary school-aged children, and 5.7 million are adults 25 years old and older.
Translation and interpretation services are two other methods for obtaining access. These services are provided by: Health-related facilities, such as hospitals, health departments, public health offices, and clinics that may have translation services available. These services will not always be accessible or may not accommodate people who speak all languages.
The 2009 Report on the Economic Impact of Language Services in Nursing Facilities reported that 14% of nursing facilities nationwide provide language access services. However, if a facility did not provide language access services before Medicare and Medicaid began reimbursing for language assistance in 2005, only 20% planned to provide these services within the two years following the reimbursement decision (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2013).
In the Library of Congress, second language acquisition research focuses on current and future literacy and language learning challenges for all Americans. The Resource Room allows patrons to search online databases for information and research papers related to second language acquisition. Their collections are also available by request. One example is the Languages Other Than English collection, in which they have over 12,000 recordings that contain native speakers from various countries teaching a particular language.

As with any significant policy change in public school systems or services offered to the general public, there are bound to be hurdles. According to the U.S.
Factors that affect access to Massachusetts and national Common Core Standards
The Massachusetts Department of Education and the American Association of School Librarians have recently published a report about how accessibility to Massachusetts Common Core Standards can be improved (Bicehouse & Faieta, 2017). The paper discusses how Second Language Acquisition (SLA) factors, such as culture, age, gender, literacy level, socioeconomic status, and language proficiency, affect these standards. For example, native English speakers may have more difficulty with different cultures or certain languages than second-language learners. This paper is useful for parents and educators who want to learn about the factors that affect second-language acquisition. In the United States, English is taught to most students, so this is a useful tool for educators who want to improve student access to national standards.
Children with disabilities face obstacles that may prevent them from reaching their full potential. How federal law affects special education is addressed on the Federal Special Education Law and Policy website. The website is a guide for parents and educators who want to learn about the laws that govern special education.
The New York State Education Department has developed a professional development guide designed to help university faculty members improve their teaching practices based on student needs. The NYSED has identified six areas of instruction that are useful for English language learners: reading comprehension, vocabulary, oral communication, listening comprehension, writing, and structure/format. This tool is useful for teachers who want to learn how to engage students in their classes and facilitate classroom discussion.
The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition Instruction is a resource for teachers struggling with how they can help ELLs acquire linguistic skills in the classroom. This site is useful for educators who want to learn about the different pedagogical approaches used with ELLs. For example, communicative language teaching strategies are articulated on this website. This informational paper is a useful tool for educators who want to learn effective instructional tools in the classroom.
The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition provides important information that educators need to understand how non-native English speakers can acquire linguistic skills. This site is useful for parents concerned about how their son or daughter can learn English and ultimately achieve educational success. The information on this website is based on research conducted by many prominent scholars in language acquisition.
The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition guides educators who want to learn more about the basic principles of second language acquisition. For example, the site explains how linguistic skills are acquired in different settings and how these skills are assessed. The information on this website is based on research conducted by many prominent scholars in language acquisition.
Parents concerned about how school administrators can help students who need extra assistance with English can benefit from reading this guide created by the New York State Education Department. This document is designed to help teachers understand how they can support ELLs in their classrooms by modifying their teaching methods so that ELLs have equal access to educational resources and opportunities. This guidance is useful for parents who want to learn about what their children are experiencing in the classroom and how they can help.

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