TESOL Member Resolution Against Education Exclusion Acts (1995)

Whereas TESOL's mission is to "strengthen the effective teaching and learning of English around the world while respecting individual's language rights";

Whereas TESOL's mission is to "encourage access to and standards for English language instruction";

Whereas educational exclusion acts, such as California's Proposition 187 and New York State's proposed Senate Bill 3090, violate Federal law by denying the right of free public education to children living in the United States;

Whereas the enforcement of provisions of such acts violates the Untied States' Family Educational Rights Privacy Act, which prohibits the release of information about public school students except in the most limited of circumstances;

Whereas the enforcement of such acts may require ESOL teachers to assist in the identifications of suspected undocumented persons, a task which should not be within the realm of teachers' responsibilities;

Whereas the process of identifying suspected undocumented students leads to discrimination and harassment of the majority of the ESOL population, those who reside legally in the United States;

Whereas the enforcement of such acts interferes with the documentation process by creating a climate of suspicion in the classroom impeding our ability to provide a quality learning environment;

Whereas the enforcement of such acts promotes discrimination against specific ethnic groups according to the color of their skin, their accent, or their names;

Whereas the enforcement of such acts will turn away thousands of students from public schools, thereby creating a class of undereducated people;

Whereas the enforcement of such acts potentially threatens the jobs of teachers who cannot morally support its provisions;

Whereas the enforcement of such acts promotes the dissolution of families by bringing about the deportation of family members who may not yet have legal residency;

Whereas the passage of Proposition 187 in California has encouraged similar legislation in other states of the United States, such as New York State's proposed Senate Bill 3090, thereby bringing about similar negative and immoral consequences;

Therefore Be It Resolved that TESOL oppose any legislative action that uses immigration status to deny access to public education to any person residing in the United States when that access is denied contrary to Federal law;

Be it Resolved that TESOL support the right of teachers in the United States to refuse to solicit or provide information regarding the citizenship or immigration status of students;

Be it Resolved that TESOL actively educate others regarding the issues involved in such acts of educational exclusion through various actions such as publishing articles supporting this issue in TESOL publications, communicating this position with all TESOL affiliates, facilitating conference presentations on the topic, and disseminating this resolution to school and other educational agencies at their request;

Be it Resolved that TESOL investigate filing a "friend of the court" brief in opposition to the implementation of Proposition 187 on behalf of CATESOL;

Be it Further Resolved that TESOL actively support CATESOL and other affiliates in their efforts to overturn legislation that violates students' right of access to public education; and

Be it Finally Resolved that TESOL actively support affiliate organizations in other states in their efforts to prevent the passage of legislation similar to California's Proposition 187 and New York's proposed Senate Bill 3090.

1995 TESOL Convention
Long Beach, California USA

Note: This member resolution was voted upon during the annual business meeting of the association in 1995. Resolutions passed at the annual business meetings of the membership are not official policy of the association. The resolutions need a vote of approval by the Board of Directors.

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