A new NCELA website will be launched in early 2015, with an abundance of resources for stakeholders in the education of English learners (ELs). Thank you for your patience during this transition period! Announcement of our website launch, along with other important announcements―relevant federal guidance; new resources; upcoming events; opportunities for jobs, education, and funding; and more―will be listed in NCELA Nexus, our semimonthly e-newsletter. Go to our Nexus page to subscribe, or to view current and past editions.
NEW: U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice Release Joint Guidance on English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents
On Wednesday, January 7, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education’s (the Department’s) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released a joint guidance entitled “Dear Colleague Letter: English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents,” which outlines the legal obligations of state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) to English learner (EL) students under civil rights laws and other federal requirements. The guidance can be found on OCR’s resource page on the Department‘s website
NEW: U.S. Department of Education Releases First Chapter of “English Learner Tool Kit” for State and Local Education Agencies
The first chapter of a new English Learner Tool Kit—intended to help SEAs and LEAs in meeting their obligations to ELs—has been published on the web by the U.S. Department of Education (the Department). The tool kit is meant to be read in conjunction with the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) newly-released joint guidance, “English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents,” which outlines SEAs’ and LEAs’ legal obligations to EL students under civil rights laws and other federal requirements. The first chapter of the Tool Kit, “Tools and Resources for Identifying All English Learners," can be found on the website
of the Department’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA). More tool kit chapters will be posted there (and will be announced here in Nexus and on the NCELA website) as they are published. The joint guidance and other relevant resources can be found on OCR’s resources page.
The White House Announces Plans to Strengthen Native American Youth and Communities
At the sixth annual White House Tribal Nations Conference, President Obama announced that, as one in a series of efforts on behalf of Native American youth and communities, the White House had released a report on the unique challenges that Native American youth face. The President also announced the launch of a National Tribal Youth Network and an initiative called Generation Indigenous, to build achievement and leadership among Native youth. The White House posted President Obama’s remarks
on its website, and the full text of the report
is also currently available online. Education Week
and Red Lake Nation
have both published summaries of the President’s efforts to bolster the academic experience and achievement of Native American youth, and to provide other forms of support to Native American communities.
U.S. Department of Education Reaches Agreement with Harmony Public Schools District in Texas to Ensure Equal Access for EL Students in District Charter Schools
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced
that it has entered into a resolution agreement with Harmony Public Schools in Texas, to ensure compliance by its charter schools with federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, and disability. Harmony operates a network of 43 public charter schools throughout Texas serving over 28,000 students. The agreement ends the Department's investigation and commits Harmony to providing English learner (EL) students and students with disabilities with equal access to and equal opportunity to participate in the Harmony charter schools in Texas.
U.S. Department of Education Proposes Plan to Strengthen Teacher Preparation
The U.S. Department of Education announced proposed regulations
that help ensure teacher training programs are preparing educators who are ready to succeed in the classroom. The proposal builds on the reforms and innovations already happening at the state and program level across the country and by national organizations like the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The new rule shifts the focus for currently required state reporting on teacher preparation programs from mostly inputs to outcomes—such as how graduates are doing in the classroom—while giving states much flexibility to determine how they will use the new measures and how program performance will be measured.
U.S. Department of Education and White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Partner to Focus on Bullying and Hate Crimes
WHIAAPI, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is launching the AAPI Bullying Prevention Task Force to proactively address bullying in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. More than one-quarter of students between the ages of 12 and 18 reported being bullied at school during the 2010-11 school year—nearly 7 million students. Some AAPI students face bullying and harassment based on their immigration status, such as Micronesian students whose families have recently immigrated to the continent and Hawaii. Others are bullied for the way they look, such as turbaned Sikh youth, or for their English language skills.
OELA PRESENTS: Research Practice Policy Sessions
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) has launched a series of Research Practice Policy Sessions, live and via webcast, and is now making available the recordings of two past events. Follow the links in the descriptions below to view webcasts of previous sessions and watch NCELA Nexus
for details on future sessions as they are announced.
- Educational Outcomes for English Learners in Different Instructional Programs—Connecting Research, Practice, and Policy for English Learners, with Sean Reardon, Stanford University, November 14, 2014. Sean Reardon, professor of sociology, Stanford University, discussed findings from a longitudinal study funded by IES that compares the academic trajectories of ELs enrolled in four different instructional programs.
- Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle Schools, with Patrick Proctor, Boston College, July 9, 2014. This interactive session focused on the new IES What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) practice guide, Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School.
National Professional Development Program Grantee—Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU)’s Training for All Teachers (TAT) Program—Launches English Learner Curriculum Library
SCSU's TAT Program, a National Professional Development (NPD) grantee, recently launched the English Learner Curriculum Library online. With a click of a button, teachers can access over 250 instructional units, Grades K-12. Connecticut teachers modified the units to make subject content accessible to ELs. Units include lesson plans, narratives, content and language objectives, modified materials, a checklist of sheltered strategies incorporated, and the original unit as it was designed for mainstream students. Also available at this site are Country/Culture Cards, one-page descriptions of the major countries represented by the state’s ELs, with cultural and linguistic information bullets for each. In the site’s first eight months, it’s had over 6,000 visitors download the instructional units!
The National Professional Development Program (NPD)’s Next Grant Cycle Opening Soon
The next grant cycle for the NPD program—a discretionary grant program created by Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (as amended in 2001), and administered by the Office of English Language Acquisition—will be in 2015 for the 2016-2017 school year. Watch NCELA Nexus for an announcement of application information and deadlines.
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
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.