English Is Now The Second Language For Over 40,000 Charlotte Mecklenburg School Students


charlotte-international-festivalCharlotte has always been a melting pot of immigrants from a variety of cultures. Waves of settlers moved here for our nation’s first gold rush in the early 1800s, the textile boom of the early 1900s, and now we’re seeing booms across a variety of sectors.

Charlotte has also become home to a growing number of refugees from over a dozen different countries.

The Queen City has become a true melting pot city, representing almost every culture and people group in the world. Nowhere is that reflected more than in our CMS classrooms.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system now teaches over 40,000 students who speak English as a second language. Over the past year, that number increased by almost 3,600 students, according to a recent CMS report.

The top 5 most common first languages among those students are; Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, French and Telugu. Telugu is a Dravidian language that’s spoken in southern India.

This year’s CMS report indicated that:

  • 40,752 CMS students tallied as English as a second language, making up 28% of CMS’s 147,157 total student roll.
  • A total of 197 different languages are spoken by students at home, representing 183 different countries.
  • The number of students classified as “English as a second language” rose by 3,582, while the total CMS enrollment only increased by about 1,000 over the past year.

City leaders have commented that this diversification of languages is a good thing in our increasingly globalized world. 

How do you feel about the growing diversity in our city?