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Dear Secretary Cardona,
On behalf of my colleagues at Ellevation, and the millions of English Learners and educators we serve, I want to congratulate you on your historic appointment as Secretary of the US Department of Education. It is inspiring, and energizing, to see someone with your background as an English Learner ascend to the highest level of government. Many millions of students will see themselves in your success; many more millions of educators will be reminded of the potential of every student in their classroom, no matter the language they speak at home.
As you commence your term, the tasks ahead must be overwhelming, but we share your view that even with the challenges, there is a great opportunity to rethink how we serve our students. The focus on safely reopening schools will surely be a first priority, as will the urgent social and emotional needs of young unaccompanied migrants fleeing violence in their home countries. But as an organization focused entirely on multilingual learners, we want to humbly suggest that you are in a unique position to help school districts better serve our 5MM+ English Learners both through policy and the power of your example.
The Federal government has played an important and helpful role in ensuring that English Learners receive the support necessary for an equitable education. In particular, the changes introduced by No Child Left Behind in 2001, and then modified in 2015 with the Every Student Succeeds Act, have helped ensure that educators across the country focus on the needs of ELs. But there is much more that can be done. The pandemic only adds to the urgency.
As you settle into your new office, we would like to suggest 3 bold ideas to accelerate a K-12 equity agenda that includes English Learners:
We are so encouraged by your appointment and excited to help. Even before you officially take the job, your selection helps to reset a rancorous tone and reminds Americans that EL students bring linguistic and cultural assets to our classrooms that enrich our schools and communities. We are happy to offer ourselves up as a resource for you and your colleagues as you consider the role that technology can play in effective execution of policy. We wish you the best possible luck as you take the lead in helping us address some of our most important national challenges.
President & Co-Founder, Ellevation
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