Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D


“Spanish is the undisputed leader, but kids in New Jersey’s schools speak everything from Arabic to Portuguese and Chinese to Telugu

New Jersey has almost 2 million foreign-born residents, about 22 percent of the state’s population. More than 90,000 of them are school-aged, which has broad implications for the state’s schools.

Educators throughout the state are faced with the task of teaching students who do not speak English well, or at all. Some schools have only a few students, while in others, a majority of students speak one or many languages other than English. An analysis of the most recent New Jersey School Performance Report for the 2014-2015 school year indicates that public school students spoke more than 165 different languages at home.”


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Languages do matter!


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