Dems Lead Bicameral Call on Betsy DeVos to Protect English Learners
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), with Congressmen Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)and James Langevin (D-RI), led a bicameral group of their colleagues in a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, opposing the consolidation of the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) and integration into the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE). “There are more than 5 million ELs in elementary and secondary schools across the 50 states and territories. The growth of English learners has outpaced the general population – with a 60 percent increase in the last decade, compared to a 7 percent increase,” they wrote. “We oppose any regulatory or administrative changes to the organization of the OELA. We also believe these reorganization efforts only further highlight our continued concern about this administration’s vitriolic rhetoric about individuals in this country who speak another language. We urge you to maintain OELA as a separate office with a Director who reports directly to the Secretary. Any deviation from this practice threatens years of precedent, evidence-based work, and expertise critical to meeting the needs of our nation’s English learners.” Twenty-five members of Congress -- including Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bob Menéndez (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), as well as Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Rubén Kihuen (D-NV), Judy Chu (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Michelle Luján Grisham (D-NM), and Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) -- joined the letter urging the Department of Education to preserve OELA’s success in supporting, educating, and ensuring equal access to education for English learners. See the full letter here.