Back to top

Understanding the Civil Rights of English Learners with Dr. Ayanna Cooper

What are civil rights of English learners and how can schools sometimes unintentionally violate them? How can civil rights issues affect EL reclassification rates, access to advanced courses, and more?  Why do violations happen and how can schools avoid them? We discuss these questions and more with Dr. Ayanna Cooper.

Dr. Ayanna Cooper is an author, keynote speaker and advocate for culturally and linguistically diverse learners. She is the author of Creating and Sustaining Equitable Schools with English Learners (in press), co-editor of Black Immigrants in the United States: Essays on the Politics of Race, Language, and Voice (with Ibrahim, in press), and co-author of Evaluating ALL Teachers of English Learners and Students with Disabilities: Supporting Great Teaching (with Staher Fenner & Kozik). Her projects involve providing technical assistance internationally and in the U.S. to State Departments of Education, school districts and non-profit organizations. Dr. Cooper recently returned from an English language Specialist project in Kuwait. She was also recently elected to TESOL's Board of Directors for 2020-2023.

During our conversation, we referenced the following resources:

Be sure to subscribe to Highest Aspirations on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts so you never miss an episode. Also, please consider leaving us a rating and review on iTunes to let everyone know how we’re doing. This will help us get the word out and bring in more great guests. 

Finally, we love to crowdsource from the community! If you have an idea for a topic or guest for an upcoming episode, please reach out to