Education Law Center Staff Attorney Jessica Levin participated this spring in a podcast series presented by the New Jersey Department of Education’s (NJDOE) Bureau of Bilingual/ESL Education. The series, hosted by the Bureau’s Program Development Coordinator, Kenneth Bond, provides “bite-sized conversations” about the education of English Language Learner (ELL) students.
Ms. Levin and Elizabeth Franks, noted educator and Socio-Political Representative of the NJ Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages/Bilingual Educators, were invited to the program to speak about the importance of advocating for ELL students and specific ways to do so. Their recently-released, two-part interview on “ELL Advocacy” is available here.
Earlier in the year, Ms. Levin delivered testimony to the New Jersey State Board of Education on challenges facing ELL students and suggestions for fulfilling New Jersey’s longstanding commitment to ELL education. Ms. Levin noted that New Jersey law provides robust rights to ELL students and urged the NJDOE to devote resources and attention to ensuring that all school districts comply with their obligations in this area. Her testimony also highlighted the urgent need to ensure that limited English proficient parents are provided translation and interpretation services so they can be fully involved in their children’s education.
New Jersey schools serve over 80,000 ELL students, and many sources have noted that ELLs are the fastest-growing student population in the country. The start of a new school year provides an excellent opportunity for educators, policymakers, parents, and advocates to redouble efforts to ensure that ELLs receive high-quality educational programs and all the legal rights and protections designed to safeguard their opportunity for educational success.
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