NCELA staff is currently in the process of refreshing the look of the website, checking links, and increasing accessibility and readability of resources, as well as adding new resources. You can look forward to new features in the coming months, such as newly designed pages with state-specific information, and a new resource library navigation system. We will be keeping you updated when new features go live, through NCELA Nexus, our new newsletter (see below). In the meantime, thank you for your help and patience while we refurbish the NCELA website!
NEW: NCELA Nexus
NCELA Nexus, a semimonthly e-newsletter, will connect NCELA audiences with new resources (including new features on our website), upcoming events, and opportunities for jobs, education, and funding related to the education of ELs and the EL community. Subscribe to the NCELA listserv by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also subscribe, and view current and past editions of NCELA Nexus, by clicking here.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Announces Guidance to Ensure All Students Have Equal Access to Educational Resources
Secretary Duncan announced guidance
, in the form of a Dear Colleague letter
to states, school districts, and schools to ensure that students have equal access to such educational resources that provide an equal opportunity to succeed in school, careers, and life. The guidance, issued by the Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR), provides detailed and concrete information to educators on the standards set in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is one part of President Obama's equity agenda, including the recently announced Excellent Educators for All
initiative, and takes into account ongoing efforts of states, school districts, and schools to improve equity. The guidance was covered by the New York Times in an article called "New Federal Guidelines Aim to Rid Schools of Racial Inequality
U.S. Department of Education Launches First-Ever School Environment Listening Tour for Native American Students
The White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education (WHIAIANE) and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights are launching their first-ever school environment listening tour to hear from schools and communities on ways to better meet the unique educational and culturally-related academic needs of Native American students. The listening sessions will focus on school environment—bullying, student discipline, and offensive imagery and symbolism. WHIAIANE will compile the feedback from the tour into a report for President Obama with recommendations on how to ensure that Native American students receive a high quality education. Future sessions include one on Sunday, October 26, in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, and more scheduled for Seattle, Washington; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Troy, New York; Los Angeles, California; and Anchorage, Alaska. Additional information about specific locations and dates for future listening sessions will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Native American and Alaska Native Children in Schools (NAM) Program’s Next Grant Cycle Opening Soon
The next grant cycle for the NAM program
, administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), will be in 2015 for the 2016-2017 school year. Watch NCELA Nexus for an announcement of application information and deadlines.
October Marks the 24th Anniversary of the Native American Languages Act
The Native American Languages Act (NALA) of 1990 (PUBLIC LAW 101-477)—currently being considered for reauthorization—was enacted by Congress on October 30, 1990, and served as a historic repudiation of past policies. Its intent was to "preserve, protect and promote the rights and freedoms of Native Americans to use practice and develop Native American Languages" and "fully recognize the right of Indian Tribes and other Native American governing bodies, States, territories, and possessions of the United States to take action on, and give official status to their Native American languages for the purpose of conducting their own business."
OELA Director Libia S. Gil Speaks at Conference on 40th Anniversary of Lau v. Nichols Decision
Libia S. Gil, assistant deputy secretary and director of the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), U.S. Department of Education, spoke on September 12, 2014, at the National Conference on the Rights of Linguistic Minorities, in San Francisco, CA. The conference commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Lau v. Nichols 1974 Supreme Court decision, which expanded the rights of students nationwide with limited English proficiency. Lau v. Nichols
was a class action suit brought by parents of non-English-proficient Chinese students against the San Francisco Unified School District. In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled that identical education does not constitute equal education. The basis of the decision was Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination on the basis of national origin, ruling that language is inextricably linked to national origin. At the conference, Gil discussed the significance of the decision as well as enforcement challenges and equity opportunities to support increased academic success for English learners. The conference (covered on NBC’s website
and in this article in China Daily
) was sponsored jointly by Asian American & Asian Diaspora Studies at University of California Berkeley; Santa Clara Law, Santa Clara University; the San Francisco Unified School District; and the Chinatown Campus of City College of San Francisco.
U.S. Department of Education Accepting Applications for Preschool Development Grants
The Preschool Development Grants competition supports states to (1) build or enhance a preschool program infrastructure that would enable the delivery of high-quality preschool services to children, and (2) expand high-quality preschool programs in targeted communities that would serve as models for expanding preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. Prospective grantees will demonstrate an ambitious and achievable plan to implement and sustain high-quality preschool programs that can reach and serve additional eligible children in one or more high-need communities. Information on the grants can be found on this fact sheet
, or the program page
at the Department’s website.
Visit the Facebook Page of the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), U.S. Department of Education!
For those on Facebook, "Like" OELA's page
to follow announcements and have them sent directly to your Facebook News Feed, as yet another way to keep on top of the latest news from OELA.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for English Language Acquisition (OELA) Welcomes Three New Staff Members
OELA is pleased to introduce three new members of its staff: Marianna Vinson joins OELA as deputy director, having served most recently as assistant superintendent of educational services for the San Jacinto Unified School District in southern California. A former bilingual kindergarten teacher, as assistant superintendent she led the transition to the Common Core State Standards and next generation assessments, and oversaw all instructional programs from preschool through high school, including special education. KimOanh Nguyen-Lam joins OELA as program director. Most recently, she directed the Advanced Training and Research Division of International and Foreign Language Education, in the Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education. Prior to that, she was executive director of the California State University (CSU) 23-campus system-wide consortium for the CSU Critical Language Initiative; and served as the associate director of the Center for Language Minority Education and Research at CSU Long Beach. As a faculty member at CSU’s College of Education, her research focused on bilingual education, minority language education, and dual immersion language programs. Francisco J. López, Jr. joins OELA as a discretionary grant program specialist. He comes from the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), where he served as a program officer, managing a portfolio of Title III grants that focused on assessment, research, and evaluation related to the needs of English learners.
The U.S. Department of Education Releases More Information on Enrolling New Immigrant Students
U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan Offers Guidance on Testing and Evaluation
Education Secretary Arne Duncan addresses key education issues, including teacher evaluations and test preparation, in this post
on SmartBlog on Education
. "Growth is what matters," he writes. "No teacher or school should be judged on any one test, or tests alone—always on a mix of measures—which could range from classroom observations to family engagement indicators.”
Educational Services for Immigrant Children and Those Recently Arrived to the United States
According to the most recent data, there were more than 840,000 immigrant students in the United States, and more than 4.6 million are English learners. The U.S. Department of Education has begun to receive inquiries regarding educational services for immigrant children from Central America who have recently crossed the U.S. - Mexico border. In response, the Department developed fact sheets to help education leaders understand the States’ and local educational agencies’ responsibilities for immigrant students, and to answer questions about enrolling new immigrant students. Also included are existing resources available to help educate all immigrant students – including children who recently arrived in the United States. Read the full fact sheets here
U.S. Department of Education Launches 'Excellent Educators for All Initiative'
As part of its efforts to ensure that all students have equal access to a quality education, the U.S. Department of Education has announced the launch of the Excellent Educators for All Initiative. The initiative will help states and school districts support great educators for the students who need them most. Research indicates that students' race and family income often predict their access to excellent educators. Low-income students and high-need schools tend to have teachers who have less experience, fewer credentials, and lower track records of success. Nationally, according to the Department's Civil Rights Data Collection, Black and American Indian students are four times as likely as White students to be enrolled in a school with more than 20% first year teachers, and Latino students are three times as likely. Read the full press release here
Real Equality in Education Remains Elusive: Op-Ed by Libia (Libi) Gil, Assistant Deputy Secretary, and Director, Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), U.S. Department of Education
OELA Director Libi Gil recently authorized an opinion piece in the National Journal online exploring the promise of Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964–whose 60th and 50th anniversaries, respectively, we mark this year. The op-ed focuses on how very far we are from fulfilling the promise for students from diverse language and cultural backgrounds.
A New Generation of English Language Proficiency Summative Assessments: ETS’s K-12 Center Explores Challenges and Opportunities
What are the language demands of the new college- and career-ready academic standards, and how can states effectively determine the English Language Proficiency (ELP) of English language learners? The K-12 Center at ETS recently held The English Language Proficiency Assessment Research Working Meeting, attended by more than 60 leaders in the English-language assessment community, to discuss critical emerging technical issues and opportunities to improve the measurement and reporting of English-language proficiency to support improvements in teaching and learning. The complete agenda and the slide decks for all presentations can now be found online. You can also view a presentation by Margaret Heritage on formative assessments for English language learners. A summary report will be available this fall. Please make sure you are on the K-12 Center’s distribution list to receive notice of its availability. Write to email@example.com with any questions.
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Issues Guidance on Responsibilities of Schools to Address Sexual Violence, Other Forms of Sex Discrimination.
View the full press release here
The Office for Civil Rights Reaches Comprehensive Resolution with Adams 14 School District
On April 25, 2014, the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reached a comprehensive resolution with the Adams 14 School District in Colorado after making findings of a hostile environment for Latino staff and students that the district failed to remedy. The resolution agreement includes elements such as publishing a letter in English and Spanish to staff and the community explaining what OCR found and the steps the district will take to come into compliance. Read the 'Agreement to Resolve' here
U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance on Obligations of Charter Schools to Comply with Federal Civil Rights Laws
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today released new guidance confirming that the same federal civil rights laws that apply to other public schools apply equally to public charter schools. The new guidance highlights critical subjects that have arisen in charter schools, including the schools’ obligations to avoid discrimination in admissions practices and the administration of discipline; to provide a free appropriate public education for students with disabilities; and to take affirmative steps to assist English learners. The guidance also points to other OCR publications regarding additional civil rights principles that are equally applicable to charter schools. Read the full press release here.
Webinar: Learning in Two Languages in Early Childhood: What Every Early Childhood Professional Needs to Know
Last month, as part of the START KIDS BRIGHT Webinar Series, Dr. Mileidis Gort, Associate Professor at Ohio State University, hosted a webinar and addressed some of the myths about bilingualism stating “there is no scientific evidence that exposure to two or more languages causes language learning problems.” Dr. Gort also discussed the language development process of young bilinguals, or dual language learners, including different types of dual language learners and pathways to bilingualism, stages of dual language learning for simultaneous and sequential bilinguals, oral language acquisition strategies used by dual language learners, contextual and individual factors influencing the dual language development process, and typical and atypical markers of dual language development.
To view a recording of the webinar, click here
. You will need to register to view the recording.
To view and download the PowerPoint presentation, click here
The White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics releases ¡Gradúate! Financial Aid Guide to Success
The White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics is excited to announce the release of the ¡Gradúate! Financial Aid Guide to Success (Guide).
The Guide consolidates and outlines, in a culturally relevant way, information and resources made available to better support Hispanic students in their efforts to enroll and afford a postsecondary education. The Guide, available in English and Spanish, includes recommendations on how to prepare a college application and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), helpful tips on how to choose the right college, and types of financing options, including resources for students granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and non-U.S. citizen students.
Press Release-Thursday, May 8, 2014
Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder announced updated guidance to assist public elementary and secondary schools to ensure enrollment processes are consistent with the law and fulfill their obligation to provide all children – no matter their background – equal access to an education. Read the full press release here
Twenty one states have provisions allowing in-state tuition rates for undocumented students
16 states extended in-state tuition rates to undocumented students through state legislation. These states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Currently, California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington allow undocumented students to receive state financial aid.
States that allow in-state tuition rates to undocumented students through Board of Regents decisions include Oklahoma and Rhode Island. The Board of Regents at the University of Hawaii and the University of Michigan adopted similar policies for undocumented students to access in-state tuition. The Attorney General of Virginia started granting in-state tuition to those covered under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
to view a GIF showing the spread of in-state tuition for undocumented students (also known as DREAMers), along with how many DREAMers live in each state.
Remarks of U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan on the release of the 2011-12 Civil Rights Data Collection
U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan announces the release of the 2011-12 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). The CRDC study collected system-wide data on school discipline, access to preschool, teacher equity, and access to college- and career-ready coursework, and identifies patterns in educational inequality for certain subgroups of student and gaping disparities in educational supports and access from state-to-state. The CRDC study spotlights serious civil rights concerns as a starting point for further inquiry. View Secretary Duncan’s remarks here.
Op-Ed by U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan and Assistant Deputy Secretary Libia S. Gil
U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director Libia S. Gil recently authored an opinion piece in the L.A. Daily News about English Learners as an asset for our global, multilingual future. View the full article here(English version) or here(Spanish version).
Press Release-January 2, 2014
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued a press release to the Spanish language media as well as Latino interest media (see below) with links to the Spanish versions of OCR’s June 2013 Dear Colleague Letter, Pamphlet, and “Know Your Rights” sheet. The materials focus on “Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.” The Spanish version of the press release emphasizes that of the young people who drop out of school for reasons including pregnancy and parenting issues, 44 percent are Latino, compared to 27 percent white non-Latino students. Below are also links to the English language versions of the press release and Dear Colleague Letter released in June.
News Archive: Click here to view previous/archived news and announcements.