Kean University’s Center for Bilingual Education was established in 1975 providing pre-service and in-service training for bilingual education and English as a Second Language teachers both on- and off-campus. During the past six years, the Center has been increasingly involved in the education of general program teachers in addressing the needs of English language learners (ELL). The rapid growth of this population has increased their presence in districts and classrooms which never before or infrequently encountered ELLs.
New Jersey is one of the most populous states in the nation and is one of the more diverse in the nation. Minority residents comprise 44.4% of the state’s population, the national rate is 38.6%; almost 19% of New Jersey’s residents are foreign born, compared to 12% nationwide; 26.6% speak a language other than English at home, in contrast to 18.7% nationally. Projections through 2025 suggest that in New Jersey, Hispanic, “other races,” and multiracial residents will each double in size. Nationally, the number of Hispanic students is surging, and the number of white students continues to decline (U.S. Census, 2004).