Washington, DC | www.adc.org | January 11, 2016 – Today, ADC Staff Attorney Yolanda Rondon testified to the U.S. Department of Education regarding recommendations for the implementation of Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Rondon provided this testimony before Patrick Rooney, Acting Director – Office of State Support; Ann Whalen, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education; and more than 60 diverse national, state, private, and public entities.
ESSA takes steps in the right direction by including English Language Learners as part of the accountability system and requiring intervention within underperforming schools. However, enforcement is key to the success of ESSA. The implementation of ESSA regulations will have a profound impact on the broader Arab community.
Rondon testified that a criteria for English Language Learners must be included in state accountability systems for both math and English, ensuring that they are given the necessary support to develop core skills necessary to succeed.
The Department of Education has the authority and responsibility to regulate ESSA and intervene where schools or school districts fail to remedy disparities or substantively address achievement gaps and groups or subgroups of students that are underperforming.
ADC has been working with a diverse group of civil rights organizations and allies in Congress to help to secure protections and the inclusion of English Language Learners in Title I since March 2015. While ADC has been disappointed by some of the shortcomings in Title III, ADC will continue to actively push for regulations that ensure that resource equity means that qualified paraprofessional translators and interpreters are available for students and that modern and culturally appropriate language materials are provided. While the hearing focused on Title I, we understand that ESSA must be enforced in its entirety to truly defend the right of all children to a high quality education.