Press Release: Minnesota’s ESSA plan needs to be more ambitious for English Learners

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Minnesota state plan on August 1st and will allow a 30 day public comment period. The Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) and Minnesota Education Equity Partnership (MnEEP) compared the State plan to their recommendations they offered earlier this year in their policy brief. Read the full press release.

Bo Thao-Urabe, CAAL’s Network Director states, “We are happy to see ESSA’s focus on English Learners, who make up some of the largest student growth populations in Minnesota’s school districts. We urge community members to respond to the state plan and participate in the MDE’s regional meetings. For too long, parents and students have felt stigmatized when placed in EL programs. This is an opportunity for them to offer insights and innovative ideas to strengthen programs that serve their children to succeed academically.”

“It is important to have authentic voices for determining public policy that works well for the people,” shared Carlos Mariani Rosa, MnEEP Executive Director.  Mariani Rosa further adds, “We are pleased to support emerging multilingual learners to shape laws that help them to achieve high levels of academic proficiency in Minnesota.”

The Minnesota Multilingual Equity Network’s policy brief provides important background information about Minnesota’s English Learners (ELs), and the state’s alignment with the federal ESSA Law. It also provides seven recommendations on what is needed to achieve high academic outcomes for ELs:

  1. Implement strong and culturally responsive family engagement to meet evolving and diverse educational needs
  2. Provide academic native language curriculum and courses to support rigorous literacy development
  3. Use a robust and multidimensional calculation of growth toward English language proficiency
  4. Develop consistent, objective criteria and school practices for EL program entry and exit
  5. Use baseline data from recently arrived ELs to establish and maintain high academic standards
  6. Prioritize support for early development of dual language learners
  7. Strategically strengthen professional development and programs to support ELs in low-performing schools

To download the policy brief, please visit mneep.org or caalmn.org. Read the full press release, which includes links to the side-by-side comparison of the plan with our recommendations .