Halting the Race to the Bottom: Urgent Interventions for the Improvement of the Education of English Language Learners in Massachusetts and Selected Districts

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The Sub-Committee on English Language Learners of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Committee on the Proficiency Gap was formed in September 2009 to provide a short set of recommendations that would serve as “levers” for the improvement of the education of English language learners in Massachusetts. These recommendations would be considered for implementation in the state’s new initiatives focused on under-performing schools in ten districts, designated as priority districts, and which include Boston, Brockton, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester. The committee included 15 educators from across the state, a combination of academics, district superintendents, and directors of ELL services, a school principal, and staff of non-profits working in the area of education. The group met six times in the three months of its tenure. It received organizational and data support from the MDESE. During its inquiry, it also received data support from the Worcester and Framingham Public Schools and received administrative and research assistance from the Gastón Institute at UMass Boston with support from The Barr Foundation.

Members of the Committee: Miren Uriarte, Associate Professor of Human Services, University of Massachusetts Boston and Senior Research Associate, Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy, Chair Almudena Abeyta, Academic Assistant Superintendent for Middle and K-8 Schools, Boston Public Schools María Estela Brisk, Chair of Teacher Education, Special Education, and Curriculum & Instruction, Lynch School of Education, Boston College Eileen de los Reyes, Assistant Superintendent for English Language Programs, Boston Public Schools Jane Lopez, Attorney, Multicultural Education, Training and Advocacy, Inc. (META, Inc.) Susan McGilvray-Rivet, Director of Bilingual, ESL and Sheltered English Programs, Framingham Public Schools Kara Mitchell, Massachusetts Association of Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages Margarita Muñiz, Principal, Rafael Hernandez School, Boston Public Schools Sergio Páez Ed.D., ELL Director, Worcester Public Schools Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education, Director, International Education Policy Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education William Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of Juvenile Justice, Wheelock College State Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, 15th Suffolk District Maria de Lourdes B. Serpa, School of Education, Lesley University and Co-Chair of MDESE’s English Language Learners/Bilingual Education Advisory Council Rosann Tung, Director of Research, Center for Collaborative Education, Boston Eleonora Villegas-Reimers, Chair of Elementary Education Department and faculty, Wheelock College Faye Karp, Research Associate, Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy, University of Massachusetts Boston, Staff to the ELL Sub-Committee

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