Hawai'i TESOL
 

News from the Socio-Political Action Chair


Hawaii TESOL members:


A US House bill called the Reaching English Learners Act is slowly winding its way through the US Congress. It is supported by TESOL International Association, our parent organization, among other organizations concerned with teachers and immigrant students. You can read about it along with the full text of the bill in this EdWeek blog post:


http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/2018/01/solve_ell_teacher_shortage.html


Hawaii TESOL has written letters of support and have sent them to Hawaii's Congressional delegation, including Representatives Gabbard (who represents District 2) and Hanabusa (who represents District 1), and Senators Hirono and Schatz.


We encourage our membership to also write individual letters of support, encouraging your US Representative (either Gabbard or Hanabusa, depending on your district) to co-sponsor the House bill, and encouraging both Senators Hirono and Schatz to sponsor a companion bill in the US Senate.


You can use the following two versions of the support letter to write your own emails to Hawaii's Congress members. Just be sure that your email to co-sponsor the bill goes to your US House Representative, and your email to sponsor a companion bill goes to your two US Senators.


Individual stories about how this bill would impact you as a teacher or parent, or how the bill would affect the students who you work with or families you know, are especially relevant to your congress members. So be sure to personalize your messages.


Gabbard: https://gabbard.house.gov/connect/share-your-ideas

Hanabusa: https://hanabusa.house.gov/contact/email

Hirono: https://www.hirono.senate.gov/help/email

Schatz: https://www.schatz.senate.gov/contact


TO YOUR HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE TO CO-SPONSOR THE BILL:


Date: (insert today's date)

To: Senator (either Hirono or Schatz)

From: (your name here)

Subject:   Support for H.R.4838 – Reaching English Learners Act

Hawai‘i TESOL is the largest state-wide organization representing teachers of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) – commonly referred to as “ESL teachers” – the majority of whom work directly with immigrant students in Hawai‘i DOE schools to support English language development.We strongly support H.R.4838 – Reaching English Learners Act, and we ask that you also support this bill by co-sponsoring it as our Congressional representative for Hawaii.

Hawaiʻi has taken positive steps in the past few years to embrace the opportunities of its diverse ethnic and heterogeneous linguistic population. The Hawaiʻi State Board of Education has passed two historic policies: the Seal of Biliteracy (2015, Policy 105.15) and Multilingualism for Equitable Education (2016, Policy 105.14). These policies are based on longstanding research showing the effectiveness of language education to promote student achievement.

However, as you may well know, Hawai‘i is one of the 32 states reported by the US Department of Education to have a shortage of teachers who work with English language learners (ELLs). In fact, the Hawai‘i State DOE reports that of the 948 teachers and teacher assistants who support ELLs statewide, only 212 have the minimum training as required by DOE policy to meet the needs of these students.

H.R.4838 – Reaching English Learners Act – would create a grant program under Title II Part B of the Higher Education Act to allow institutions of higher education (IHEs) to partner with local educational agencies (LEAs) for the purpose of creating teaching curricula to prepare teacher candidates to instruct ELLs. These grants would help our local colleges and universities and the Hawai‘i DOE develop educators who recognize and address the linguistic and social-emotional needs of ELLs, identify and teach ELLs with disabilities, and promote family and community engagement in ELL programs, thus supporting state policies that help ELLs achieve success in Hawai‘i DOE schools.

We hope that you recognize the importance of preparing highly qualified teachers for our state’s English language learners and co-sponsor H.R.4838.

Thank you for representing Hawai‘i in the US Congress.

Sincerely,

(your name here)

Hawai‘i TESOL member


TO THE US SENATORS TO SPONSOR A COMPANION BILL:


Date: (insert today's date)

To: Senator (either Hirono or Schatz)

From: (your name here)

Subject: Sponsor companion bill to H.R.4838 – Reaching English Learners Act

Hawai‘i TESOL is the largest state-wide organization representing teachers of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) – commonly referred to as “ESL teachers” – the majority of whom work directly with immigrant students in Hawai‘i DOE schools to support English language development.We strongly support H.R.4838 – Reaching English Learners Act, and we ask that you also support this bill by sponsoring a companion bill in the US Senate.

Hawaiʻi has taken positive steps in the past few years to embrace the opportunities of its diverse ethnic and heterogeneous linguistic population. The Hawaiʻi State Board of Education has passed two historic policies: the Seal of Biliteracy (2015, Policy 105.15) and Multilingualism for Equitable Education (2016, Policy 105.14). These policies are based on longstanding research showing the effectiveness of language education to promote student achievement.

However, as you may well know, Hawai‘i is one of the 32 states reported by the US Department of Education to have a shortage of teachers who work with English language learners (ELLs). In fact, the Hawai‘i State DOE reports that of the 948 teachers and teacher assistants who support ELLs statewide, only 212 have the minimum training as required by DOE policy to meet the needs of these students.

H.R.4838 – Reaching English Learners Act – would create a grant program under Title II Part B of the Higher Education Act to allow institutions of higher education (IHEs) to partner with local educational agencies (LEAs) for the purpose of creating teaching curricula to prepare teacher candidates to instruct ELLs. These grants would help our local colleges and universities and the Hawai‘i DOE develop educators who recognize and address the linguistic and social-emotional needs of ELLs, identify and teach ELLs with disabilities, and promote family and community engagement in ELL programs, thus supporting state policies that help ELLs achieve success in Hawai‘i DOE schools.

We hope that you recognize the importance of preparing highly qualified teachers for our state’s English language learners and sponsor a companion bill to H.R.4838.

Thank you for representing Hawai‘i in the US Congress.

Sincerely,

(your name here)

Hawai‘i TESOL member



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