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Beware Efficiency!

Beware Efficiency!

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By Bill Rivers, Executive Director of Joint National Committee for Languages

Beware the following: “We’re making things much more efficient,” especially if coupled with “you should demand better!”

For more than 40 years, the United States Department of Education has supported State and Local Education Agencies in furthering multiliteracy for America’s English Learners (ELs), through the programs of the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA). Authorized under 20 USC §3420 et seq., the Office is established as an entity whose Director, by statute, reports to the Secretary of Education.

The structure of the Office on the one hand reflects the history of the program, driven by the civil rights imperative and Supreme Court case law (Lau v. Nichols) to ensure equal access to education for our nation’s ELs, and on the other, the recognition by successive administrations and Congresses that OELA plays the lead role in providing expertise, advice, information, research, and assistance to SEAs and LEAs, educators, and parents, all while serving as the key proponent office in the Federal Government for the rapidly growing and increasingly diverse population of ELs in our schools. OELA is the key federal partner in Dual Language Immersion and the Seal of Biliteracy.

Indeed, on February 15, the Honorable José Viana, Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education and the Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition, read Secretary Betsy DeVos’ message to the annual meeting of the Joint National Committee for Languages, in Washington. She concluded with:

Students who are competent in two, three, four languages are better prepared for every turn in their careers and lives.

Continue reading to find out what you can do to save OELA…

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