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TESOL International Association Responds to 2014 State of the Union Address

by User Not Found | 01/30/2014
In this year's State of the Union Address, President Obama mentioned pre-K education, the importance of good teachers, workforce training, and immigration reform.
During his 2014 State of the Union Address, President Obama once again highlighted the vital role that education plays in supporting the U.S. economy. One of the best investments any nation can make in a child’s life is a high-quality education. TESOL International Association strongly supports the President’s call to guarantee every child in the United States access to a world-class education.

The President also highlighted the critical role that teachers play in improving students’ lives. His example of a young English learner who—thanks to the support of great teachers—is now preparing to enter college later this year is a story that TESOL educators and others working with English learners across the United States know very well. Proposals to advance high-quality education, such as the proposal for universal pre-K education, hold promise, but they will not be fully effective unless they take into account the needs of English learners, the fastest growing student population in U.S. schools.

As President Obama noted, pre-K education has been proven beneficial for all students, but it especially benefits English learners, who are often from disadvantaged backgrounds. Expanding the benefit to millions of young learners is overdue. However, these proposed efforts must include resources to help educators meet the unique needs of English learners. Without expanding the number of trained ESL and bilingual educators and providing training for all educators who work with English learners, these reform efforts will fall short of serving many of the students who could most benefit from them.

The President also called for improvements in workforce training, and identified a new initiative to implement across-the-board reform of America's training programs to ensure that they are focused on training Americans with the skills that employers need. TESOL International Association urges President Obama and Vice-President Biden not to overlook adult education programs in their efforts. These programs serve a critical role in helping to improve educational outcomes for adult learners, which enable them to advance in gainful employment. Especially for those adults who need English language or civics education, adult education programs are a crucial part of any workforce training development initiative.

TESOL International Association stands firmly with the President, business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement in calling for comprehensive immigration reform. In addition

to helping the U.S. economy, implementing long-overdue fixes to the U.S. immigration system is simply the right thing to do. TESOL International Association and its members stand ready to work with the President and Congress on these and other important issues to improve and advance U.S. education for all learners.