In collaboration with the Road Map Project, we have published a new report, Our Rising Voices: A Call to Action to Support Emergent Multilingual Students.
For too long, our education systems have treated English language learners as a problem to be managed and minimized. This report instead highlights the systemic barriers that emergent multilingual students face and the actions we can all take to support them. It pinpoints five specific yet sweeping recommendations for building systemic changes and uplifting community voices. Some highlights from the report:
- We cannot marginalize emergent multilingualism. Nearly half of students in the region (42 percent) are emergent multilingual at some point during their education and nearly all emergent multilingual students (89 percent) are students of color. This means that they are central to our communities, and that supporting them means leading with anti-racist strategies.
- Multiple strategies for developing multilingualism are essential. Our schools and communities need dual language classrooms, heritage language courses, world language credit programs, and other policies and practices to build a culture that values multilingualism. Rather than a singular programmatic approach, we need a systems-wide shift.
- Emergent multilingual students are in every classroom. There are many amazing individuals and organizations doing work to support emergent multilinguals, but it’s not nearly enough. Let’s move beyond “bright spots” and work to illuminate our entire community.
- Students are “stuck” because the system is stuck. The challenges our students face are intersectional and systemic—and not about their own abilities. Being an emergent multilingual is not an obstacle to student success; in fact, being multilingual is a powerful asset.
This report is a tool for anyone who is advocating for emergent multilingual students—families, grassroots organizers, educators, policymakers, and the young people most impacted by education policies and programs. With reimagination and resourcing, transformative changes are in reach!