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On June 30, Governor Newsom signed a $308 billion State Budget for 2022-23. The approved spending plan presents yet another historic investment in public education, totaling $128.6 billion for K-12 education. This includes a 13 percent increase to the base funding for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) over the 2021-22 levels.
As a coalition focused on improving educational outcomes for English learners, and immigrant and refugee students, we celebrate these historic investments at the same time that we continue to advocate for ensuring that new programs prioritize the needs of our highest need students and those who have been the most impacted by the pandemic, including English learners. The following reflects the approved budget and the budget trailer bill (AB 180) that is currently being negotiated.
Summary of Legislative Priorities
We appreciate the recognition by the Governor and Legislature that we face a teacher shortage and must continue to invest in the training, recruitment, and retention of teachers. In particular, we will continue to shed light on the need for bilingual teachers. With this goal in mind, we reflect on our legislative priorities, co-sponsored by our partners at the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE):
Lastly, as AB 1868 (Rivas) moves through the Legislature, we hope that it will pass with a $1 million ongoing appropriation to disaggregate data in order to strengthen California’s guidance and resources to ensure Long Term English Learners (LTELs) students are correctly identified and provided with targeted interventions that best meet their needs.
Educator Investments that Can Help Support the Bilingual Teacher Pipeline
While not all of our legislative priorities were achieved through the Budget, we still see significant opportunities to expand the bilingual teacher pipeline through the broader educator workforce investments listed below. We will continue to advocate for these investments to prioritize bilingual teachers that can best meet the needs of English learners and students in multilingual programs.
Significant Investments that Can Be Leveraged to Improve EL Outcomes
In addition to the education and LCFF increase, there are several new and continued investments that can greatly expand educational access for English learners. It is our hope that as LEAs expand programs with these investments they prioritize the needs of students that have been the most negatively impacted by the pandemic, including ELs.
Expansion of Early Childhood Education
We also continue to applaud the continued investments in the State Preschool Program and Transitional Kindergarten. We see tremendous opportunity for these investments to provide greater access to culturally and linguistically relevant instruction for the 60 percent of children birth to five, who come from a household where another language other than English is spoken.
We will continue to work with the administration and Legislature to advocate for English learners and the expansion of pathways to biliteracy within our budget priorities. It is our goal to ensure that the inclusion and success of the State’s English learners be inserted in several program initiatives and be prioritized.
For more information about the 2022-23 California Budget and the Budget Trailer Bill click here.
To download the Impact of 2022-23 California State Budget Opportunities for Supporting English Learners as a pdf click here.
Community Schools present an opportunity to rethink partnerships and the role that schools have in meeting the needs of students and families. They are defined by the Partnership for the Future of Learning as a public school with “strong and intentional community partnerships ensuring pupil learning and whole child and family development.” This model can be a powerful strategy to improve English learner education, empower multilingual families, bring resources to support immigrant and refugee students, and strengthen connections between elementary and early childhood education. It is for these reasons that Californians Together was excited when California’s 2021-22 Budget included a $3 billion investment in community schools.
On May 18, the State Board of Education (SBE) approved the first round of Planning Grants and Implementation Grants, impacting 163 school districts and county offices of education and 105 charter schools.
Across both sets of school district grantees, over one in five of all students is an English learner. Moreover, 14 of the 20 districts with the largest number of English learners are grantees.
The SBE also approved a $12 million three-year contract for the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) to serve as a lead technical assistance center. The ACOE will be a support hub for the program, co-led with the UCLA Center for Community Schooling, and in partnership with Californians for Justice and the National Education Association.
It is important to note that additional planning and implementation grants are expected to be allocated in the 2022–23 school year. Moreover, the high demand for these grants prompted the Governor to include an additional $1.5 billion in the 2022-23 Budget May revise.
Current and future grantees will have an opportunity to build or expand Community Schools with an intentional focus on high quality programs and instruction for English learners and the English Learner Roadmap (EL Roadmap) as a central component. To support this alignment, Californians Together recently released Alignment of Community Schools with the English Learner Roadmap Policy, adapted from Section 4: Engaging the Whole Village (pages 44-57) of the California English Learner Roadmap Implementation Guide and Toolkit for Administrators Volume 5: Aligning and Articulating Practices Across the System. In the coming months, Californians Together will also be releasing a series of four briefs focused on how Community Schools can improve English Learner education, empower multilingual families, support immigrant and refugee students, and strengthen connections between elementary and early childhood education to support dual language learners.
As the 2021-22 school year draws to a close, many students will have graduated from high school with the attainment of the California State Seal of Biliteracy, signifying their proficiency in English and a second language. This will mark the ten-year anniversary since the State Seal of Biliteracy was fully implemented in 2012. California’s adoption of the State Seal of Biliteracy was a remarkable triumph considering the previous 14 years of predominantly English-only instruction. That triumph was made possible by changing public and political attitudes toward multilingual education and would be the start of significant policy change over the next decade, including the passage of Proposition 58 in 2016 and the adoption of the English Learner Roadmap policy in 2017. Additionally, in May 2018, the California Department of Education launched Global California 2030, calling for more than tripling the number of students earning the Seal of Biliteracy, to 150,000 graduates by 2030.
Mastering fluency in one of the 41 different languages represented, including American Sign Language, is a tremendous accomplishment for any student. Speaking two or more languages has proven cognitive, social, and economic benefits. Bilingual students do better academically in English and their home language, have better college-going and completion rates, are preferred by employers, and for language heritage students maintain strong connections to their family members, language, and culture. These students are our future bilingual teachers, doctors, government employees, and artists.
The reverberations of this important policy have resulted in positive outcomes, in California, and across the country. Over the past decade, 49 states and the District of Columbia have adopted a Seal of Biliteracy. (Only South Dakota remains as the last holdout although it is in the early stages of adoption.) Within California (according to 2020-21 school year data), 351 districts with high school students now offer the State Seal of Biliteracy, with 69 districts with high schools yet to offer this distinction. Moreover, 2020-21 had nearly 73,000 students achieving the State Seal of Biliteracy, the most of any previous year. Given the trend over the past decade, we can expect these numbers to keep increasing when they are released for the 2021-22 school year and beyond.
As we celebrate this important milestone, we must continue to expand access to multilingual programs for all students. The Global California 2030 goal of tripling the number of students earning the Seal of Biliteracy, to 150,000 graduates by 2030, provides a call to action and a vision of a multilingual state with benefits to students and the state as a whole.
Below are recommendations to continue to support expanding access to the Seal of Biliteracy:
1. Expand Access
2. Track Progress
3. Engage Students and Families
California has set forth a vision of multilingualism as a goal for our students, and has put into place comprehensive research-based frameworks and policies for the education of our culturally and linguistically diverse state. Today, as new literacy initiatives are taking shape, it is essential that they be aligned with and build upon the frame of California’s strong English learner policies that reflect the research on effective practices for English learner/Emergent Bilingual* students and that honor the vision California has set for our students.
In this brief by the California Committee for Effective Literacy titled “Effective Literacy Education for English Learner/Emergent Bilingual Students in California” details four decades of research with a distinct focus on second language literacy development and instruction listing components of effective literacy education for English learners derived from this research base, and specifices their alignment along the four state policy and guidance documents
The characteristics and components of effective literacy instruction for English Learners referred to in this brief are discussed in more depth in a companion white paper published by the National Committee on Effective Literacy: Escamilla, K., Olsen, L., & Slavik, J. (2022) “Toward Comprehensive Effective Literacy Policy and Instruction for English Learner/Emergent Students“. www.MultiLingualLiteracy.org
Community Schools presents an opportunity to rethink partnerships and the role that schools have in meeting the needs of students and families. Strongly aligned to this vision of schools is the English Learner Roadmap (EL Roadmap) policy goals to improve services for English learners (ELs) and ensure an assets-based focus of students and families. Therefore, it is critical for the establishment of an effective Community School for it to be implemented alongside the EL Roadmap, not as an additional program, but as a central component.
Californians Together has provided a document adapted from Section 4: Engaging the Whole Village (pages 44-57) of the California English Learner Roadmap Implementation Guide and Toolkit for Administrators Volume 5: Aligning and Articulating Practices Across the System. It offers guidance for how district and school leaders might plan for and implement the Community Schools model with the EL Roadmap as a central component.
It is our hope that this document can support the development and continued implementation of Community Schools, through alignment with the EL Roadmap. The Community Schools model holds great promise to deliver much needed services to EL students, immigrant and refugee students, and their families. Furthermore, we do not see the EL Roadmap and the Community Schools model as two separate policies, but as two complementary strategies that cannot be fully realized without the other.