A slew of educational advocacy organizations, including TESOL, the Center for Applied Linguistics, American Federation of Teachers, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, Joint National Committee for Languages, National Association for Bilingual Education, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, California Association for Bilingual Education, Californians Together, and the American Association of Teachers of German, are questioning the legality of the U.S. Department of Education’s proposal to reorganize its Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) and perhaps fold its operations into another office.
The Department of Education’s deputy secretary, Mitchell Zais, has assured the coalition of advocacy organizations in ongoing correspondence that all statutory obligations of the OELA will be fulfilled and that restructuring the OELA would allow the agency to merge support for English learners with services provided to other vulnerable student groups.
In a statement, OELA director José A. Viana said, “OELA will continue its statutory functions as administered by the director. Any changes resulting from the reorganization are intended to ensure English learner students have the support, attention, and resources they need from the Department.”
The reality is that the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Office of Innovation and Improvement are still going through their merger process with reviews by Office of Management and Budget, the union, and other stakeholders, so they will not be discussing the OELA until January of 2019.