Sending Office: Honorable James R. Langevin
Sent By:

Cosponsor the Reaching English Learners Act

Cosponsors: Langevin, Adams, Espaillat, Grijalva, Pallone, Serrano

Supporting Organizations: UnidosUS, TESOL International Association, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, National Education Association,
Joint National Committee for Languages, National Association for Bilingual Education, American Federation of Teachers

Dear Colleague:

Ten percent of public school students are English Learners (ELs) whose native language is one other than English. These children, most of whom are US citizens, speak a wide variety of languages, including Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese,
and their population is growing.

Despite this growth, the Department of Education reports that 32 states have a shortage of teachers for EL students. This is reflected in a shocking academic achievement gap: on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 70 percent
of eighth grade EL students scored “below basic” on reading proficiency, compared to 20 percent of non-ELs, while 69 percent of ELs scored “below basic” in math proficiency, compared to 24 percent of non-ELs. Moreover, the National Center for Education Statistics
reports that 65 percent of EL students graduate high school in four years, compared to the national four-year graduation rate of 83 percent.

The Reaching English Learners Act (H.R. 4838) would address this education crisis by funding the development of teacher preparation programs that train future teachers to instruct ELs. Institutions of higher education would be required
to partner with local educational agencies to build or strengthen teaching programs that provide teacher candidates with skills related to:

  • Helping ELs in prekindergarten, elementary, and secondary school programs achieve at high academic levels and attain English proficiency;
  • Recognizing and addressing the social and emotional needs of ELs;
  • Appropriately identifying and instructing ELs with disabilities; and
  • Promoting parental, family, and community engagement in EL educational programs

The bill would require teaching programs to offer work-based learning opportunities and provide the necessary coursework for teacher candidates to qualify for EL teaching certifications. For more information or to cosponsor the
Reaching English Learners Act, please contact Kerry McKittrick at 202-225-2735 or





Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Civil Rights, Education, Immigration

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