This is a critical moment for education in California. After years of attempting to educate students during a pandemic, districts across California are facing unprecedented teacher shortages and burnout.

We need to do all we can to better support our teachers. Ensuring they have high-quality instructional materials, such as textbooks and other educational tools, to help their students succeed academically is a key part of that.

In California, where English learners make up almost 20% of our student body, it is particularly urgent that teachers have instructional materials that are most effective in supporting the more than 1 million students who come from families that speak a language other than English. California’s schools cannot be successful if they aren’t addressing the needs of English learners and the inequities in educational access that the pandemic has only exacerbated.

Unfortunately, a recent study of California teachers’ perception of their instructional materials for English learners conducted by the English Learners Success Forum and San Diego State University shows we are falling far short.

In our survey, what we found — while not surprising — was disheartening: More than half of teachers feel their district-provided instructional materials fall short of even moderately supporting them in teaching math and English language arts to students learning English as a second language.

For this study, we partnered with the Rand Corp.’s American Teacher Panel to ensure a broad sample of K-12 math and English language arts teachers in 115 districts across California, with each district comprising over 10% English learners. The 2,558 participating teachers represented a range of experience — from one to 42 years.

High-quality instructional materials can improve instruction and students’ academic outcomes. But half of the teachers reported that their materials do not even moderately help tailor instruction to support English learners. Worse, more than 60% of the teachers said their materials do not have cultural relevance and over 55% said their materials do not even moderately support them in assessing English learners’ language development.

Read the full article about high-quality teacher materials by Renae Skarin and William Zahner at EdSource.