AIR and the Hispanic Education Coalition Co-Sponsor a Capitol Hill Briefing On the Key Issues Facing English Language Learners

Washington, D.C. – The American Institutes for Research (AIR) and The Hispanic Education Coalition are sponsoring a briefing at 9:30 a.m. Eastern October 2 on Capitol Hill that looks at the academic challenges facing English language learners (ELLs). The discussion is taking place in Room 2261 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Over the last decade, the number of ELLs enrolled in public schools increased by 51 percent – from 3.5 million students to 5.3 million. Achievement data suggest that these students lag far behind their peers on all academic indicators, including high school graduation rates. At the same time, states are implementing the Common Core State Standards, the U.S. Department of Education is issuing Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waivers, and new assessments are being developed by two state assessment consortia. This panel discussion explores how these factors affect ELLs’ academic achievement.

Diane August, an AIR managing researcher and nationally-recognized expert in the language development of second-language learners will moderate the briefing. Jennifer O’Day, a principal research scientist at AIR, will discuss the findings of a study examining how states implemented Title III, which requires districts and states to help ELL students attain proficiency in English and other core subjects. This U.S. Department of Education evaluation, which was conducted by AIR, found that states and school districts vary widely in how they define an ELL.

Also presenting are James Ferg-Cadima, Regional Counsel at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Magda Chia, Director of Support for Underrepresented Students for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia.

National Hispanic Education Coalition
The Hispanic Education Coalition unites 25 organizations dedicated to improving educational opportunities for the nearly 50 million Latinos living in the United States and Puerto Rico. Co-chaired by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Migrant Legal Action Program, the HEC focuses upon federal legislative issues relating to education including the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the Head Start Act, the Higher Education Act, adequate federal funding for education, and the educational concerns of English Language Learners. In each of these areas, the HEC strives to ensure that dialogue at the federal level regarding education issues reflects the education priorities of the Latino community.

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, human service, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit


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