There is no issue more central to American competitiveness than the quality of our education system. Latino students compose more of every sector of America’s schools with each passing year, underscoring the main reason that we must pay attention to the needs of Latino students: To remain the world’s economic leader in the next century, America’s schools must prepare every child for the economic opportunities of the future.
As legislators, NHCSL members work daily to direct our states’ resources and policies to meet this obligation. Yet there is so much work to be done at every level. The federal government, the states and school-based leaders must continue to evolve. We must work to build and implement effective strategies, and ensure that teachers are prepared to teach every student to their highest potential and have the support in place to secure success. We must also work to make more families fully engaged in the process.
The Education Task Force covers all issues related to education such as school funding, teacher pay, educational quality, school discipline reform, standardized testing, school choice (including school vouchers, charter schools, magnet schools, virtual schools, and homeschooling), tax credits and other benefits for education, educational savings accounts, bilingual schools, Spanish language classes or schools, book purchasing for public schools, mandated curricula, pre-school (including universal pre-school), Head Start, access to higher education, hiring of Latinos in higher education, promotion of STEM education, college-prep, scholarships, financial aid, internships, improving graduation rates, closing achievement gaps, and promotion of arts and culture. May have some input on issues like workforce development (with that Task Force), or of racism and racial inequity in schools, and undocumented immigrant or DREAMER access to education with the Immigration Task Force. Shares issues like nutrition in schools and vaccinations with the Healthcare Task Force.
Task Force Leadership
Task Force Priorities
- Identify evidence-based exemplary ELL programs serving low-income students
- Ensure transparency of outcomes for students in ELL classes
- Recognize and share with colleagues that the majority of Hispanic children in ELL classes are U.S. citizens by birth
- Advocate going beyond the traditional debates on language instruction and focus on programmatic outcomes of improving English language proficiency among ELLs
- Increase new Title III monies and earmark these funds to be allocated to the above activities
At the state and/or local level
- Coordinate in a comprehensive manner the policy and procedures in ELL placement, reclassification, and assessment
- Require that all states assign unique identification numbers to each ELL student so that data-tracking is more effective and progress can be more easily measured
- Call for transparency in ELL placement, assessment, reclassification, and aggregate public dissemination of the data
- Increase effective teacher and staff professional development addressing the specific instructional needs/concerns of ELLs
Require objective data on the effectiveness of different instructional programs