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Arizona's ELL Classrooms Struggle With Teacher Shortages, Low Graduation Rates

ELL Teachers
(Photo by Caitlin O'Hara)
Bedelicia Reyna works with her kindergarten student Iker Grijalva on an assignment to identify rhyming words in English during class.

Arizona schools will serve about 67,000 students considered English Language Learners (ELLs) this year. And how these kids learn a new language as well as their grade-level curriculum has been the subject of debate for decades. In a special edition of KJZZ's ongoing series Inside Arizona Classrooms, reporters visited two schools for a closer look at why.


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Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.