New Education Law Casts Washington as a Leader State for English Learners

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These days, there is a lot of bad — frankly alarming — news coming out on how states are serving their English language learners (ELLs). In Arizona, tens of thousands of ELLs were exited from language services prematurely — or did not receive them in the first place. In California, a new funding formula led to the misattribution of millions of dollars intended for high-need students, including ELLs.

In other moments, there is often no news at all — also not good. That is, ELLs can become such an afterthought to policy discussions that they are almost a non-issue.

That’s why it’s a pleasant surprise to hear about a state reforming its policies in high-level, comprehensive, research-based ways to better serve ELLs' needs. As I highlight in a new article for The 74, a new education law out of Washington State provides a recent illustration of just that.

As I write in the piece,

“[The new law] makes promising strides in preparing teachers to work with ELLs, supporting districts’ outcomes for ELLs, and boosting all educators’ abilities to work with families from varied cultural backgrounds, providing an example that other states and educators are free to follow… Taken together, the changes are encouraging — even more so because Washington’s existing approach to monitoring ELLs’ outcomes is already one of the more transparent in the country.”

Click here to read the new piece for more on the policies and politics that shaped the law’s passage after years of attempts.

Author:

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.