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TESOL International Association Responds to 2015 State of the Union Address

by User Not Found | 01/23/2015
Statement by TESOL Executive Director Rosa Aronson, PhD, CAE
In his annual state of the union address, President Obama highlighted the importance of education, especially to the country’s economic health and to everyone’s quality of life. TESOL International Association appreciates the President’s efforts not only to improve the quality of education in the United States, but also to make higher education more affordable for students and families.

The President’s proposal to make two years of community college free for every student in the United States is a bold idea, and one that can make a critical difference for students who may not be able to afford higher education. Not least of these are the numerous English learners and immigrant students who have benefited from the many programs and services that community colleges provide. In fact, community colleges are one of the nation’s largest providers of English language instruction for students and adult learners. Given this crucial role, TESOL International Association urges the administration to include the needs of English learners and immigrant students in this and future initiatives.

Although the association is excited by the possibility this proposal presents, it leaves undone major initiatives that affect English learners and their teachers. Comprehensive immigration reform and reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, currently authorized as No Child Left Behind), for example, are both long overdue for passage. As the 114th Congress begins its session, TESOL International Association urges leaders on both sides of the aisle to put aside their partisan differences and start this new chapter with a better politics. 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.