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May 23rd, 2023
Rep. Grijalva Introduces Package of Education Bills to Improve Dual Language Learning

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Representative. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07) introduced a package of education bills, including the Supporting Young Language Learners’ Access to Bilingual Education (SYLLABLE) Act, Families Learning and Understanding English Together (FLUEnT) Act, and Reaching English Learners Act (RELA). These three education bills serve to fund more training for English Language Learner teachers, dual language programs in low-income school districts, and programs that enhance family literacy skills for English Language Learners.

Cosponsors of the package of the legislation include Reps. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) and Jasmine Crockett (TX-30).

“English Language Learners benefit from immersion and interaction with their peers and qualified teachers who can empower and help our students become successful in any school environment,” said Rep. Grijalva. “By expanding dual language programs, involving the entire family in the process and fully equipping our teachers with the training they need, we can ensure better educational outcomes for our English Language Learning students in the classroom and beyond.”

“Students across the country are facing unprecedented challenges, which disproportionately impact minority and English Learners (EL) at all stages of the education system,” said Rep. Espaillat. “ELs, their families, and teachers understand the learning loss and widening achievement gap that was exacerbated by the pandemic lockdown that forced many to transition to virtual learning. We must ensure Els are supported in ways that will help them achieve academic success. I am proud to join my congressional colleague to reintroduce the Reaching English Learners Act, legislation that aims to support specialized teacher training programs in every way possible to ensure the strength and ability of the future generation of American students.”

The SYLLABLE Act will help establish high-quality dual language immersion programs in communities with high numbers of children from low-income families, including English learners and minority children, and support those programs as the children advance from pre-school through at least 5th grade. 

More information on the SYLLABLE Act can be found here.

The FLUEnT Act aims to improve the educational, social, economic advancement, and employability skills of families with English learners in need of literacy skills by expanding and enhancing family literacy services for them. The bill authorizes a program that awards grants to family literacy providers for family literacy programs aimed at those with English language learners, especially prioritizing the hardest-to-reach populations.

More information on the FLUEnT Act can be found here.

RELA addresses the EL shortage of teachers by increasing funding for teacher preparation programs for future EL teachers under Title II Part B of the Higher Education Act. Rep. Adriano Espaillat is a co-lead of RELA.

More information on RELA can be found here.

Statements of support on the package of legislation:

“Rep. Grijalva’s bills to address the needs of English language learners provide solutions from multiple angles, including engaging families, considering the need to broaden the educator pipeline and addressing our highest-need districts. We fully support them. Our students who bring a new language into the classroom are incredibly valuable and deserve to have their culture and experience recognized, while also having the support to learn and thrive in their classrooms and beyond.” – Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

“We want to thank Congressman Grijalva for his stalwart support of the SYLLABLE Act. We know that dual language immersion programs can play an integral role in leveling the playing field for thousands of learners across this country. By expanding access to more research-based dual language programs, SYLLABLE would ensure that more learners from low-income communities can reap the undeniable benefits of bilingualism and biliteracy. That’s why ACTFL supports this legislation whole-heartedly.” – Howie Berman, Executive Director, ACTFL.

“The National Education Association believes all students deserve the tools and support to flourish and that includes our English Language Learners. English Language Learners deserve the same right to a great public-school education as their English-speaking peers. This is why we are proud to support this package of bills by Rep. Raul Grijalva who has championed this important community of students and we are united in his efforts to pass these bills into law.” – Marc Egan, Director of Government Relations, National Education Association (NEA).

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