Around one in five American students speaks a language other than English at home. Census projections estimate that this number will continue to rise in the coming decades. In the early years, these multilingual children are commonly known as “dual language learners” (DLLs), since they generally begin learning English while still working towards basic proficiency in their native languages.
Even though the DLL demographic is growing rapidly, these learners' needs are too often an afterthought in education policy discussions. As such, New America’s Dual Language Learners National Work Group seeks to provide a sustained, policy-driven focus on these learners in the early and elementary years. Specifically, the Work Group conducts research, develops policy recommendations, and disseminates new ideas to policymakers, practitioners and the broader public to better support DLLs' education.
In the K-12 span, the team also refers to this population as English learners (ELs), the term used by federal law.
Our team takes three key approaches:
- We provide a steady stream of coverage around how education reforms affect DLLs on our EdCentral blog as well as other media outlets.
- We publish policy briefs and in-depth case studies of districts and states implementing innovative policies for DLLs.
- We convene meetings of leading DLL advocates, researchers, and policy thinkers to build consensus on key policy levers for DLLs.
Click here to learn more about the team's founding.
Want to keep updated on our work? Join our email list to receive our bimonthly newsletter. Enter your contact information, and select "DLL National Work Group Newsletter."
Janie T. Carnock
Janie Tankard Carnock is a policy analyst with the Education Policy program at New America. She is a member of the Dual Language Learner National Work Group. Her work addresses policies and practices related to multilingualism, immigration, English proficiency, and educational equity. Her writing has appeared in The Hechinger Report, Univision, Education Post, The Washington Monthly, Real Clear Education, The 74, Sojourners, Pacific Standard, and elsewhere. Before joining New America, she taught second grade in Baltimore City. Around half of her students spoke Spanish at home.
Carnock graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in English and secondary field in government. She also holds a master's degree in education from Johns Hopkins University.
You can email Janie here.
Amaya Garcia is a senior researcher with the Education Policy program at New America. A member of the Dual Language Learners National Work Group, she provides analysis on policies and programs related to dual language education, bilingual teacher preparation and early education. Prior to joining New America, Garcia was a policy analyst at the DC State Board of Education and a research associate at the American Institutes of Research. Previously she worked in a variety of research labs conducting studies on topics including school finance, reading comprehension, infant learning and memory and early language development. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland-College Park, a master’s degree in cognitive studies in education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from the University of Iowa.
You can email Amaya here.
Millennial Public Policy Fellow
Jenny Muñiz is a Millennial Public Policy Fellow for New America’s Education Policy program. A native of Compton, Calif., Muñiz has most recently spent time working as a bilingual teacher in San Antonio Public Schools as a Teach For America corps member. Because of her experience as a first-generation Mexican-American and a first-generation college graduate, Muñiz’s policy interests center around urban education and English-learners.
Before her work in the classroom, Muñiz graduated from Pomona College with a degree in media studies. At Pomona, Muñiz sought to elevate unheard voices through her work teaching video production at a Native American boarding school, promoting an Oscar-nominated documentary about college campus sexual assault as a post-production intern, and setting the research groundwork for a Getty-funded exhibition of socially engaged Latin American art as a curatorial intern at the Pomona College Museum of Art.
You can email Jenny here.
Elena Silva is director of PreK-12 for the Education Policy program and director of the DLL National Work Group at New America. Her research and writing focuses on a wide range of educational issues, including teacher’s work, school design and improvement, and the assessment and measurement of student learning. Prior to joining New America, she was a senior associate for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a senior policy analyst at Education Sector, and the director of research for the educational foundation and library of the American Association of University Women. She previously managed youth leadership programs for the D.C.-based ASPIRA Association, one of the largest national Hispanic-serving organizations, where she developed and directed one of the first AmeriCorps service programs in the nation.
Elena holds a master's and a PhD in education from the University of California-Berkeley, where she taught undergraduate courses in education policy, high school reform, and the history of public education. She holds a bachelor's degree in sociology and anthropology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She lives in her hometown of Silver Spring, Md. with her husband and children.
You can email Elena here.
Conor P. Williams
Senior Researcher and Founding Director
Conor P. Williams is the founding director of the Dual Language Learners National Work Group at New America. He is also a senior researcher in New America's Education Policy program. His work addresses policies and practices related to educational equity, dual language learners, immigration, and school choice. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Daily Beast, Univision.com, The Atlantic, U.S. News and World Report, Talking Points Memo, The New York Daily News, The 74 Million, and elsewhere. Before joining New America, Williams taught first grade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Williams holds a PhD and MA in government from Georgetown University, an MS in teaching from Pace University, and a BA in government and Spanish from Bowdoin College. Williams and his wife are public school parents in Washington, D.C.
You can email Conor here.