Giving Compass' Take:

· A recently released report from New America shows that English learners with disabilities have a lack of federal support and funding. To better serve these students and their needs, the report includes steps education leaders and policymakers can take to improve programs.

· What barriers block English learners from getting the assistance they need? How can access to special education be improved for English learners?  

· Here's a guide for finding and understanding English learner data.

The number of ELs in U.S. schools has continued to increase over the years, from 3.8 million students (8.1% of the total student population) in 2000 to nearly 5 million students (9.6%) in 2016. Within this group, about 15 percent also qualify for special education services.

Schools and districts are required by federal law to provide these students with special education as well as services for ELs English learner and special education services. But educators sometimes struggle to identify if students are falling behind because of a the language barrier, the child's disability, or both, according to the report.

Students are at risk for being both under- and over-identified for special education services, the authors write. Sometimes, educators will overlook or discount the presence of a disability, attributing its signs as a result of the student’s limited English proficiency. Other times, educators may misidentify students’ limited English skills as a learning disability.

Read the full article about English learners with disabilities by Naaz Modan at Education Dive.