Opinion: ‘Immigrant Children Are Not on Anybody’s Agenda’

By Mary Ann Zehr — October 29, 2009 1 min read
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Ruby Takanishi, co-editor of a new book titled Immigration, Diversity, and Education, tells New America Media that in the Obama administration, “immigrant children are not on anybody’s agenda, except in a negative way.”

Takanishi said she hasn’t seen the needs of immigrant children discussed much in education initiatives presented by the administration, including Race to the Top funds from the federal stimulus package.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other federal officials have not highlighted the needs of English-language learners since President Obama took office. I can think of only one exception, which I blogged about earlier this week. One of three meetings that the federal government is hosting for public input about the distribution of $350 million in Race to the Top assessment funds will examine how to accurately measure the content knowledge of ELLs.

That’s the only public meeting focused on ELLs that I’ve heard about under the administration. I’m not counting meetings that examined the needs of Latino students, where issues about ELLs may also have been mentioned.

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