Para-Educators: A source for remedying the shortage of teachers for limited English proficient students
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Despite recent attempts by State Departments of Education and local education agencies we have failed to increase the supply of bilingual teachers required to meet the instructional needs of the rapidly growing numbers of limited English proficient (LEP) students (Olsen & Chen, 1988). We propose that Bilingual para educators, teacher assistants currently working in classrooms with LEP students, are a promising source of bilingual teachers. We also discuss possible barriers to the process of preparing this potential work force to take its place among the ranks of the nation's teachers. The importance of this information is rooted in the need of public education systems throughout the country to adequately serve a diverse student population.