Kristin Grayson, M.Ed.

Civil Rights Update for English Learners – Podcast Episode 150 | Classnotes Podcast 150

Classnotes Podcast (March 31, 2015) The U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice recently published new guidance regarding education of English language learner students. The January 2015 statement was designed to remind states, school districts and schools of their “obligations under federal law to ensure that English learner students have equal access to a high-quality education and the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential.”

Kristin Grayson, Ph.D., an IDRA education associate who works with schools to improve EL student achievement, discusses steps schools and school districts need to take to make sure they are serving ELL students and their families in ways that protect their civil rights as required by law. Kristin is interviewed by Bradley Scott, Ph.D. director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity.

Show length: 14:58

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U.S. Departments of Education and Justice Release Joint Guidance to Ensure English Learner Students Have Equal Access to High-Quality Education, January 2015

U.S. Department of Education- English Learner Tool Kit
A toolkit to help school districts identify English learner students, prepared by the Education Department’s Office of English Language Acquisition. This is the first chapter in a series of chapters to help state education agencies and school districts meet their obligations to English learner students.

IDRA’s Framework for Effective Instruction of Secondary English Language Learners

IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity

New Research on Education of English Learners in Middle School and High School Released at IDRA José A. Cárdenas School Finance Fellow Program Symposium, February 2015

Education of English Language Learners in U.S. and Texas Schools – Where We Are, What We Have Learned and Where We Need to Go from Here – A 2009 Update, Albert Cortez, Ph.D., and Abelardo Villarreal, Ph.D.

Good Schools and Classrooms for Children Learning English: A Guide
María Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., Josie Danini Cortez, M.A., Albert Cortez, Ph.D., and Abelardo Villarreal, Ph.D.

Assuring Civil Rights Protection with State ESEA Flexibility Waivers
Bradley Scott, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter

Building a Civil Rights Juggernaut Using the Common Core Standards
Bradley Scott, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter

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Show Notes

  • Bradley refers to the new guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice, and asks Kristin for her sense of current federal law on civil rights for English learners and what the new guidance is saying to educators.

  • Kristin and Bradley discuss how school districts can use online tools and channels to better communicate with parents, such as by translating and distributing information in multiple languages.

  • Kristin explains the importance of implementing programs for English learners that are based in research and that allow for teachers to be properly trained and certified.

  • Kristin highlights two key challenges that have created a gap between the expectation of educational programs for ELLs and the reality of what is actually delivered: (1) the pressure placed on elementary school teachers to implement certain curricula without having sufficient time and opportunity to integrate language-acquisition strategies, and (2) the lack of quality training for middle school teachers on how to adapt their curriculum to integrate language acquisition into the core curriculum.

  • Kristin laments what we ultimately lose as a nation when school districts don’t meet the needs of English learners, particularly at the secondary level.

  • Kristin urges upper administration members to study the new guidance “with enthusiasm” in order to protect the civil rights of their students, and she advises administrators at the building level to cultivate new leadership skills among teachers as part of a cooperative effort to better meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population.