Education Equity in Crisis: Dual Language Learners and English Learners

Education Equity in Crisis:
A Vision for Serving English Learners this Fall

Many students will return to school this fall, whether virtual or in person, carrying significant new stress and anxiety from the prolonged uncertainties of social isolation, as well as unique academic needs after missing a significant amount of learning time since COVID-19 forced schools closures in the spring. Schools must address the impact of prolonged closures of all students, but they must be particularly attentive to the linguistic and academic development of California’s dual language learners (DLLs) and English learners (ELs) – students who have too often been underserved by our education systems.

The details of how schools will reopen this fall, what learning opportunities they will offer, and what priorities will guide their instruction are still being decided. But as California educators, administrators, and policymakers prepare to design and implement a variety of possible hybrid learning models for students in the fall, they must not allow the sudden transition to distance learning to reverse the recent state moves that recognize, celebrate, and uplift the assets each English learner brings to school. If they abandon California’s recent policy shifts in the English Learner Roadmap, Global California 2030, and beyond, they could reproduce some of the damaging, harmful EL practices from the state’s past.

This joint publication of The Education Trust—West and six other organizations committed to educational equity for California’s English learner and dual language learner (DLL) students offers a series of concrete, actionable ideas for how local and state education leaders can ensure that California delivers for these students in the present — and, by extension, for Californians’ wellbeing in the future.