Civil Rights Groups Say Race to the Top Ignored ELLs

By Mary Ann Zehr — September 28, 2010 1 min read
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The needs of English-language learners weren’t on the radar screen of reviewers who judged states’ applications for the $3.4 billion federal Race to the Top competition, some members of civil rights groups contend. And the winning 11 states and District of Columbia don’t have specific plans in their applications for how they will address achievement gaps between ELLs and non-ELLs, the groups say.

I wrote about the civil rights’ groups complaints in an article published yesterday at edweek.org, “Groups Say ELLs Got Short Shrift in the Race to the Top.”

The U.S. Department of Education did not respond to my request for comment on the issue before my story went to press. One leader of a civil rights group reported that Education Department officials told him they aim to pay more attention to the needs of ELLs in technical assistance for the winners.

I welcome state officials from any of the winning Race to the Top states to comment on this blog or send me an e-mail if they feel they actually do have a plan for how to use some of their Race to the Top money to address the needs of ELLs.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.