ELL Task Force
- Who we are and what we do. The ELL Task Force is a group, now over 10 years old, that meets regularly around the state to discuss the education of English language learners in Pennsylvania. There are nearly 200 people on the Task Force mailing list, including educators, social service providers, advocates, and parents. Our meetings and e-mail updates enable us to work together on ELL concerns at both the state and local levels. To be added to the Task Force mailing list, contact Len Rieser.
- Staying in touch. Besides reading our e-mails and attending our meetings, you can stay in touch with other Task Force members by joining PASchoolTalk. SchoolTalk is an interactive site where you can post questions and comments on any issue involving public education in Pennsylvania. SchoolTalk's membership is over 200 and growing, and some ELL Task Force members have joined, but we'd love to have more. So visit the site and sign up (it's easy to become a member, and don't worry -- you'll have complete control over such issues as whether you want to receive regular e-mails or just visit the site now and then).
Update - April 2011
- Two big things in the Legislature affecting ELLs are the state education budget and the school voucher bill (SB1). Neither of these is yet a “done deal” – which means that there’s time for you to contact your legislators about them.
- Take a look at our Q-and-A's on how the voucher bill would impact ELLs. You may not like what you see, since private schools that participate in the voucher program will have no clear obligation to admit ELLs, much less provide them with the special services they need. Also, the program would compete for funding with the public school system.
- For more information about both the budget and the voucher bill, visit our home page, www.elc-pa.org, as well as our interactive site – http://PASchoolTalk.org, where you can start (or respond to) a conversation.
- A subgroup of the Task Force is meeting with the Department of Education in April to discuss PDE’s activities in relation to ELLs. If you have agenda items that you’d like us to try to include, please e-mail Debbie Falk.
- A representative of the Office for Civil Rights of the US Department of Education attended our March meeting and talked with us about the sorts of complaints that office will investigate. She also provided some background information, including Policy Regarding Title VI Language Minority Investigations (this dates from the '80s, but is still valid), and
Department of Justice Policy Guidance on National Origin Discrimination.
Of course, anyone is free to contact OCR for more information; contact information for the Philadelphia office, which serves Pennsylvania and surrounding states, is below. Feel free, too, to contact Len Rieser for information regarding legal issues affecting ELLs.
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323
FAX: 215-656-8605; TDD: 877-521-2172