A new NCELA website, with an abundance of resources for stakeholders in the education of English learners (ELs), is currently under construction. 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: OELA PRESENTS! White House Task Force on New Americans Offers Third of Educational and Linguistic Integration Webinar Series, on “Engaging Immigrant Parents, Families, and Concerned Adults,” Thursday, August 27, 2015, 2–3 p.m.
In this webinar—co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) and Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE)—panelists will present current research that consistently shows that higher levels of parental and familial engagement are associated with better educational, behavioral, and adult economic outcomes for their children. Panelists will also share promising practices for engaging immigrant communities, to help schools and communities take intentional steps to engage immigrant parents, families, and other concerned adults. The U.S. Department of Education Framework for Family and Community Engagement will be shared. The webinar will be accessible at the link above; dial-in information is provided by clicking “More info” on that web page.
NEW: Effective Practices for English Learners: Implementing Multi-tiered Systems of Support for English Learners—Briefing on Effective Practices, Monday, September 21, 2015, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EDT, Washington, DC
Hear from grantees of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), on the results of three model demonstration projects to refine and adapt multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) for ELs with, or at risk of having, literacy-related disabilities. Through the findings from the projects, panelists will provide guidance to administrators, teachers, instructional coaches and policy makers on implementing a culturally and linguistically responsive MTSS in schools with bilingual education or English as a Second Language programs. To attend the event at the LBJ Auditorium (400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC), please RSVP by September 17 to Claudette Carey at 202-245-7291 or Claudette.Carey@ed.gov. This event will also air live on the EDstream network. Sign-language interpretation and captioning will be provided. If you require additional Section 504 accommodations, please contact the Section 504 office by Sept. 15, 2015 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW: Houston’s Private, Public Sector, Leaders Answer Call to Action from White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (WHIEEH)
Leaders from Houston’s public and private sector answered WHIEEH’s call to action by announcing an investment of nearly $11 million to further support and advance the educational attainment of Hispanics from cradle to career. This investment will impact over 350,000 students and 47,000 parents and educators in the Houston Area.
NEW: Department of Justice Releases Maps of Individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
This month marked 15th anniversary of Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency,” requiring federal programs and activities to provide meaningful access to limited English proficient (LEP) individuals. In honor of this anniversary, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division released several mapping resources that help identify the concentration of LEP populations at national, state, judicial district, and county levels: The “Language Map App,” allows users to view and download data on languages spoken by LEP populations, using an interactive map. Printable maps and other federal language mapping tools are available at lep.gov/maps.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education, and Too Small to Fail Release the “Talk, Read, and Sing Together Every Day!” Tool Kit
The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education, in partnership with
Too Small to Fail, released “Talk, Read, and Sing Together Every Day!,” a suite of resources that can help enrich children’s early language experiences beginning from birth. This toolkit is the result of a commitment made at a 2014 White House convening focused on efforts to “Bridge the Word Gap.” The suite of resources includes tip sheets for families, preschool teachers, and infant/toddler teachers and caregivers, as well as a fact sheet that highlights evidence for the benefits of being bilingual and of embracing children’s home languages. All tip sheets are available in English and Spanish, and can be downloaded for free.
OELA PRESENTS! White House Task Force on New Americans Offers Second of Webinar Series, on “Creating Welcoming Schools,” Thursday, July 16, 2015, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
This webinar—co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI)—explores what strategies schools can employ to help newcomer youths adjust and become more successful in their social adaptation and educational performance. Panelists will include Deborah Short, director, Academic Language Research and Training; Joe Luft, deputy director, International Network for Public Schools; and Ambreen Tariq, from WHIAAPI. Join the webinar live at this link; the dial-in number is 888-664-9855, and the participant passcode is 8275103. Future webinars will focus on engaging immigrant parents and families, early learning opportunities, investing in young leaders, and other topics.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Announces Court Approval of Modified Consent Decree (MCD) for San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD)
This groundbreaking MCD in the landmark case of Lau v. Nichols—approved on July 1—requires SFUSD to implement comprehensive measures to ensure that all EL students in its 105 regular education schools and five court (i.e., serving detained and incarcerated students) and county schools have equal educational opportunities. The MCD was jointly filed by DOJ, SFUSD, and the private plaintiffs from the original case, and replaces a 2008 court order. The MCD resulted from monitoring by DOJ and the private plaintiffs, and from SFUSD’s own recognition that the 2008 order needed to be updated to reflect current circumstances.
Department of Homeland Security Launches Citizenship Public Awareness Campaign
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS) has released a series of promotional materials as part of the Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative. This media campaign builds on a similar effort from from 2011 and is part of the work of the White House Task Force on New Americans and President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. This effort is intended to raise awareness about the rights, responsibilities, and importance of U.S. citizenship, and to provide information on the naturalization process and USCIS educational resources. The promotional campaign guides lawful permanent residents towards the USCIS Citizenship Resource Center for official, accurate, and reliable information on citizenship and naturalization topics. More information is available on the USCIS website
U.S. Department of Education Releases Fourth Chapter of English Learner Tool Kit for State and Local Agencies
Tools and Resources for Providing English Learners Equal Access to Core Curricular and Extracurricular Programs, the fourth chapter of the English Learner (EL) Tool Kit, has been published online by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), U.S. Department of Education (the Department). The Tool Kit is intended to help state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) in meeting their obligations to ELs. It should be read in conjunction with the joint Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) on “English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents” from the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), published in January 2015, which outlines SEAs’ and LEAs’ legal obligations to ELs under civil rights laws and other federal requirements. More Tool Kit chapters will be made available in the coming months on the OELA English Learner Tool Kit web page, and will be announced in Nexus and on the NCELA website.
Obama Administration Promotes and Celebrates Immigrant Heritage Month
In honor of Immigrant Heritage Month, President Obama devoted his first weekly address of June to celebrating our country’s diversity and our origins as a nation of immigrants. “One of the remarkable things about America is that nearly all of our families originally came from someplace else. We’re a nation of immigrants. It’s a source of our strength and something that we all can take pride in. And this month—Immigrant Heritage Month –is a chance to share our American stories. . . . This month, I’m inviting you to share your story too. Just visit whitehouse.gov/NewAmericans. We want to hear how you or your family made it to America—whether you’re an immigrant yourself or your great-great-grandparents were . . . . Immigrants have come to our shores seeking a better life. And by sharing our stories and staying true to our heritage as a nation of immigrants, we can keep the dream alive for generations to come.”
Immigration Stories Highlighted on U.S. Department of Education Website
Libia Gil, assistant deputy secretary and director of the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) at the U.S. Department of Education (the Department), shared her own family's immigration story on the Department's blog, Home Room, which will continue posting immigration stories of Department staff through the month of June.
OELA PRESENTS! White House Task Force on New Americans Offers First of Webinar Series, on “America’s Youngest Pioneers,” June 25, 2015, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
The webinar—co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) and Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE)—explores the data on immigrant children and youth today, as part of the Department’s celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month and World Refugee Day. Panelists will include Felicia Escobar, special assistant to the President for immigration policy; Randy Capps, director of research at the Migration Policy Institute; Libia Gil, assistant deputy secretary and director of OELA; Johan Uvin, acting assistant secretary for OCTAE. Join the webinar at this link; the dial-in number is 1-888-324-7177, and participant passcode is 3186123. Future webinars will be on creating welcoming schools, engaging immigrant parents and families, and other topics.
OELA PRESENTS! PowerPoint Now Available from March 2015 Panel Discussions on English Learners (ELs) with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) and Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) sponsored a one-day program on ELs with disabilities, on March 16, 2015, with the assistance of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and AIR managing researcher Diane August. A downloadable version of the combined PowerPoint presentations from that day is now available. Also available are a recently released report on the program and the archived livestream (video and PowerPoint) of the presentation online.
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (WHIEEH) Issues Call for “Commitments to Action” and for Nominees for “Bright Spots in Hispanic Education”
The WHIEEH has issued a call for public, private, and nonprofit investments in the creation and/or expansion of quality education programming throughout the nation serving Hispanics. This national call for Commitments to Action is intended to make a meaningful and quantifiable contribution to increase and support educational outcomes for Hispanics, from cradle-to-career, in the following critical areas: early education; K-12 education; college access; postsecondary education; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education; and Hispanic teacher recruitment. The deadline for submission forms for Commitments to Action is June 30, 2015. The WHIEEH also plans to recognize Bright Spots in Hispanic Education that support and/or ensure access to a quality, well-rounded education for Hispanics. These “Bright Spots” are evidence-based programs, models, organizations, or initiatives that target, address, and/or invest in key education priorities for Hispanics and are helping close the achievement gap—from cradle to career. The deadline for nominating programs for Bright Spots is July 17, 2015.
OELA Presents! Report and Video/Presentation Available from March 2015 Panel Discussions on English Learner Students with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) and Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) sponsored this one-day program on English Learner Students with Disabilities (ELSWDs), on March 16, 2015, with the assistance of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and AIR managing researcher Diane August. According to the recently released report on the program, "the purpose of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for experts in the assessment and instruction of ELs with disabilities to present recent research and development efforts in this area, and to discuss key questions related to these topics and needed areas of research.” The archived livestream (video and PowerPoint) of the presentation is now available online; a downloadable version of the PowerPoint will be made available soon.
Celebrating the Diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Experience: May 2015 AAPI Heritage Month
This month has provided an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and to reflect on the many ways they enrich our nation. On May 12, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders hosted the first White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Washington, DC. Nearly 2,000 community members, federal officials, and guests from over 40 states and the Pacific Islands connected with one another, shared their experiences and stories, and learned how to mobilize their communities to expand opportunities for AAPIs. During this historic gathering, President Obama shared a video message in which he recalled memories of growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He declared that generations of Americans like the Summit’s participants with "built and defended America and made the country what it is, a nation of immigrants, a melting pot that keeps the nation dynamic, unique, and entrepreneurial." He stressed that immigration reform will continue to expand opportunities for more people to study in, serve, and contribute to our nation.
U.S. Department of Education Releases Third Chapter of English Learner Tool Kit for State and Local Education Agencies
Tools and Resources for Staffing and Supporting an English Learner Program, the third chapter of the English Learner Tool Kit, has been published online by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), U.S. Department of Education (the Department). The Tool Kit is intended to help state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) in meeting their obligations to ELs. It should be read in conjunction with the joint Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) on "English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents" from the Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), published in January 2015, which outlines SEAs’ and LEAs’ legal obligations to ELs under civil rights laws and other federal requirements. More Tool Kit chapters will be made available in the coming months on the OELA English Learner Tool Kit webpage, and will be announced in Nexus and on the NCELA website.
OELA PRESENTS! History, Policy, and Research, and Implementation of New Standards for English Learners, with Kenji Hakuta, May 26, 2015, 2:00–3:30 p.m. ET, Washington, DC (and live online)
As part of the Office of English Language Acquisition’s (OELA’s) series on “Connecting Research, Practice, and Policy,” nationally recognized scholar and researcher Kenji Hakuta of Stanford University will present a broad historical overview of the policy and research to effectively implement college- and career-ready standards for English learners (ELs). A panel of teachers will provide their perspectives in response to the presentation and research findings. OELA is pleased to co-sponsor this session with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. The live event will be held at the U.S. Department of Education’s LBJ Auditorium, at 400 Maryland Avenue, SW. The event will also be accessible to those inside the Department of Education’s network through http://mediasite.ed.gov/ and to those outside the Department’s network through EDstream. Please RSVP. If you require a reasonable accommodation, please contact Anthony Sepulveda by phone (202-260-0464) or email no later than May 18.
The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Bullying Prevention Task Force Launches Web Page
The AAPI Bullying Prevention Task—a joint project of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—has launched its new webpage. There you will find a summary of issues surrounding AAPI bullying; a description of the Task Force; a Google Map of listening sessions held by the Task Force; and a list of useful government resources; and a media video of retired NFL wide receiver Hines Ward that was presented to the Task Force in its first meeting.
Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) Will Hold Second Public Information-Gathering Session for Fostering School Success for English Learners
IOM and NRC have announced the launch of a consensus study entitled “Fostering School Success for English Learners: Toward New Directions in Policy, Practice, and Research.” As part of this effort, public information-gathering sessions are being held; the second of these will be a day-long session on May 28, 2015, 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m., at the National Academy of Sciences Building, Room 125, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. (The building has a statue of Albert Einstein in front and is right across the street from the Vietnam Memorial.) There will be limited seating capacity, so interested parties must pre-register for the meeting.
.S. Department of Education Seeking Contractor for Preparing Adult English Language Learners (ELLs) for Rigorous College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards.
The Department’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) is seeking a contractor familiar with both standards-based adult education and the current work on CCR-aligned ELP standards in K-12; for the new procurement, Preparing Adult ELLs for Rigorous CCR Standards. This project supports the development of education services that enable adult students to achieve competency in English language acquisition as well as rigorous academic content and it will produce new resources to improve instructional services provided to adult students who are ELLs, building upon previous efforts as referenced in the draft Performance Work Statement. Interested parties are invited to attend a market research webinar on this procurement on May 6 at 1pm EDT. All details about the procurement and webinar may be found on this Federal Business Opportunities webpage.
White House Task Force on New Americans Releases Strategic Action Plan
On Tuesday, April 14, the White House Task Force on New Americans released its report to the President on a federal strategic action plan for the integration of New Americans. The work of the U.S. Department of Education is highlighted in the sections on Linguistic Integration. A new website page on New Americans: (also available in Spanish) has been launched, and includes a link to the comprehensive report; a call to action to volunteer to create more welcoming communities; a tool for individuals to share their own stories; and links to resources for all Americans to connect with their own immigrant heritages. Feel free to share these resources and materials with stakeholders. You can also follow and join the conversation via social media at: #NewAmericans and #NuevosCiudadanos.
U.S. Department of Education Releases Second Chapter of English Learner Tool Kit for State and Local Education Agencies
“Tools and Resources for Providing a Language Assistance Program," the second chapter of the English Learner Tool Kit, has been published on the web by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), U.S. Department of Education (the Department). The Tool Kit is intended to help state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) in meeting their obligations to ELs. It should be read in conjunction with the joint Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) on "English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents" from the Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which outlines SEAs’ and LEAs’ legal obligations to ELs under civil rights laws and other federal requirements. More Tool Kit chapters will be made available in the coming months on the OELA English Learner Tool Kit webpage, and will be announced in Nexus and on the NCELA website.
“Fast Fact” Data Sheets Available from OELA and NCELA!
The Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), U.S. Department of Education, has synthesized key data on English learners into two-page sheets on a variety of subjects for you to read online or print out and share. Recently posted to the NCELA website are nine new “Fast Fact” data sheets—with easy-to-digest maps and graphics—profiling ELs nationally, focusing on particular groups of ELs and languages spoken, and looking at EL demographics and performance as they relate to college and career readiness, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, retention and suspension rates, and charter schools. Keep an eye on Nexus for announcements of new Fast Facts in the future!
Institute of Medicine and National Research Council Announce New Consensus Study on English Learners and Dual Language Learners
The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academies have announced the launch of a consensus study entitled “Fostering the Development and Educational Success of Young English Learners and Dual Language Learners: Toward New Directions in Policy, Practice, and Research.” An ad hoc committee will address the continuum of young English learners and dual language learners with two focus areas. The first focus area will address the development of language and cultural influences from the home to the community from birth to age 8, and the second focus area will address the systems and policies affecting English learner and dual language learner children and youth in grades K-12. A full description of the study’s statement of task, a list of study sponsors, and a roster of the committee members and staff team appears on the project activity page. All those who are interested in this study are encouraged to sign up for the project listserv on the project activity page. Please note that all future communications regarding this study will be sent to the study listserv. For general questions about the study, please send an email to DLL@nas.edu.
ACTFL, NABE, NCSSFL, and TESOL Draft Recommendations for Seal of Biliteracy
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE), the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL), and TESOL International Association, have officially drafted recommendations for the implementation of the Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal of Biliteracy is an award made by a state department of education or local district to recognize a student who has attained proficiency in English and one or more other world languages, by high school graduation, be that language a native language, heritage language, or a language learned in school or another setting. The recognition of attaining biliteracy becomes part of the high school transcript and diploma for these students. Click here to view the official Seal of Biliteracy Guidelines.
Achievement Gap Narrows as High School Graduation Rates for English Learners and Minority Students Improve Faster than Rest of Nation
According to new data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, ELs, with an increase of 4.1 percentage points in graduation rates between 2011 and 2013, fall just behind Hispanics (4.2) and Native Americans (4.7)—and far ahead of the total student population (2.4)—in their rate of improvement. Black students’ graduation rates, which increased 3.7 percentage points, have also outpaced those of the total student population. To maintain and accelerate the progress students are making, the Obama Administration is calling for an overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—also known, since 2001, as No Child Left Behind (NCLB)—with a law that not only ensures students are prepared for college, careers, and life, but also delivers on the promise of equity and real opportunity for every child. Additionally, Secretary Arne Duncan has called on Congress to create a bipartisan law that supports state and local efforts.
Department of Education Releases Graduate! A Community Guide to College Access and Completion
The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP) at the U.S. Department of Education is pleased to share this comprehensive step-by-step guide to the college enrollment and financial aid process for high school students. This guide provides materials to assist you in becoming active stakeholders in promoting college access and completion. Each section provides background information and suggestions of ways that you can become involved in promoting college access and completion. This guide is available for online distribution and printing.
U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics Releases High School Longitudinal Study Data on Dropouts
The High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) is a nationally representative longitudinal study of more than 23,000 students who were ninth-graders in 2009. HSLS:09 surveyed students, their parents, math and science teachers, school administrators, and school counselors. This Data Points report, Early High School Dropouts: What Are Their Characteristics?, provides a snapshot of students who dropped out of school between ninth and eleventh grade without earning a high school diploma or any alternative credential. Though data was not made available on English learners specifically, the study found that the rate of students dropping out who self-identify as Black (3.5%), Hispanic (3.1%), and “Other” (including Native American/Alaska Native and Asian/Pacific Islander, among other categories, with an average dropout rate of 2.7%) were higher than those of White students (2.1%) or Asian students (0.3%).
President’s Budget for 2016 Proposes $36 Million Increase for Education of English Learners
The President’s Budget would give the Title III English Language Acquisition Grants—which support state and district efforts to meet the educational needs of ELs—a total budget of $773 million. That would be an increase of $36 million over the President’s last proposed budget, and—if it passes Congress—the first increase in Title III funds in years. A fact sheet on the budget and the complete budget document are both available at the White House’s website.
Center on Standards & Assessment Implementation Compiles Collection of Resources on Education of American Indian/Alaska Native Youth
A collection of resources on the education of American Indian/Alaska Native youth has been compiled by the Center on Standards & Assessment Implementation, one of seven national comprehensive content centers funded by the Department of Education. The featured collection provides a comprehensive educational background on American Indian and Alaska Native students. Resource topics include promising practices in schools and classrooms, culturally appropriate curriculum, and successful strategies.
OELA PRESENTS! History, Policy, and Research, and Implementation of New Standards for English Learners, with Kenji Hakuta, February 17, 10-11:30 a.m. ET, Washington, DC (and live online)
As part of the Office of English Language Acquisition’s (OELA’s) series on “Connecting Research, Practice, and Policy,” nationally recognized scholar and researcher Kenji Hakuta of Stanford University will present a broad historical overview of the policy and research to effectively implement college- and career-ready standards for English learners at U.S. Department of Education headquarters, on February 17, starting at 10 a.m. A panel of teachers will provide their perspectives in response to the presentation and research findings. OELA is pleased to co-sponsor this session with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. The live event will be held at the U.S. Department of Education’s LBJ Auditorium, at 400 Maryland Avenue, SW. The event will also be accessible to those inside the Department of Education’s network through mediasite.ed.gov and to those outside the ED network through EDstream
. Please RSVP
and indicate if you will attend in person or virtually. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate in this event, i.e. sign language interpreter, captioning services, Braille, large print or CD Rom, please contact Anthony Sepulveda by phone (202-260-0464) or email
no later than February 10.
U.S. Departments of Education and Justice Release Joint Guidance to Ensure English Learner Students Have Equal Access to High-Quality Education; Department of Education Launches EL Tool Kit
On January 7, 2015, as reported in the last issue of Nexus, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Justice released a joint guidance
to spell out the legal obligations of state and local education agencies to English learners. At the same time, OELA released the first chapter of an English Learners Tool Kit
(on identifying all English learners), offering check lists, tools, and resources to help SEAs and LEAs in fulfilling their obligations. Here is the Department of Education press release for links to all resources
. Watch Nexus for announcements of more chapters of the OELA English Learners Tool Kit as they are made available!
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
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!
CORRECTION: The National Professional Development Program (NPD)’s Next Grant Cycle ― INFORMATION COMING 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 2016. 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
CORRECTION:The Native American and Alaska Native Children in Schools (NAM) Program’s Funding Opportunity for FY 2016 Announcement Coming Soon
It is expected that a new NAM program
funding opportunity for FY 2016, administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), will be published in fall 2015. To receive this announcement opportunity, please register at Grants.gov! Watch NCELA Nexus for more information on the status and other information of interest regarding this funding opportunity.
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.