A Legacy of Courage and Activism: Stories from the movement for educational access and equity for English Learners in California

A Legacy of Courage and Activism: Stories from the movement for educational access and equity for English Learners in California

by Laurie Olsen
A Legacy of Courage and Activism: Stories from the movement for educational access and equity for English Learners in California

A Legacy of Courage and Activism: Stories from the movement for educational access and equity for English Learners in California

by Laurie Olsen



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A Legacy of Courage and Activism is an offering to the next generation of leaders in education equity—to inspire, to inform, and to give the gift of the history of this movement. From movement-building to cultivating the next generation of leadership, A Legacy of Courage and Activism: Stories from the Movement for Educational Access and Equity for English Learners in California by Dr. Laurie Olsen examines nearly 70 years of English learner history in California through interviews with leaders at the forefront of the movement.

The collection begins with a section, "Movement Building" which consists of two chapters:
The Story of ELLLI: Supporting a new generation of leadership and
The San Diego Story: Building a movement for Latino/Chicano educational equity and access

In the second section of the book, "A Historical Review of Key Issues," two chapters trace almost sixty years of advocacy on particular issues. They focus on the swings back and forth over decades as advocates have sought to build programs to meet the needs of Dual Language Learners and English Learners, and to create the policies that enact rights of access and establish a system and infrastructure to ensure those rights are implemented. In these case studies, progress is made but sometimes stalls, missteps happen and have to be corrected, and compromises are made, sometimes with high prices paid—but they provide a portrait of the persistence and determination of advocates over time, and build a foundational understanding of the issues that continue to be front and center in our movement. These historical reviews include:

Where Are The Teachers? A half-century of effort to address the teacher shortage for English Learners and
For the Youngest Children: Dual language learners in early childhood education

The third section of the book, "Advocacy Campaigns," describes campaigns that illustrate what it looks like to plan and pursue specific policy objectives over the long-haul, the duration necessary to bring about lasting change. The chapters include:

The California State Seal of Biliteracy: A ten-year advocacy campaign to reframe bilingualism from problem to asset and
Reparable Harm: The advocacy campaign for response to the needs of Long Term English Learners

Advocacy takes many forms, and advocates play a wide range of roles in the movement for English Learners. Some work in community-based organizations to organize families around their rights; some work in universities to produce research; some serve as lobbyists for legislation to establish the education code and resource flow that make English Learners working to build public recognition and investment in early childhood education. They have simultaneously worked to ensure recognition of and responsiveness to the needs and linguistic realities of Dual Language Learners in the early childhood field. Working on multiple fronts (as researchers, as preschool program directors, as leaders in the nonprofit sector, as policymakers, and as funders), those committed to equity and access for the young children of immigrant communities were often a lone voice and a single actor in their realms—until they found each other and forged a movement.

This chapter follows advocacy efforts that have resulted in a shift over the decades—from public investment in early education for the purposes of overcoming language and "readiness" deficits, to current investments that make it possible to build a research base and create program models that address the needs of Dual Languages Learners, and honor and support their cultures, families, and languages.

What characterizes these advocates—wherever they work—is their shared, deep commitment to the educational and language rights of English Learners, and their creativity and dedication to figuring out how to use wherever they are positioned as a springboard to further the movement for educational access.

The fourth section of the book, "The Many Roles of Advocates," is comprised of four chapters,
each describing what advocacy looks like in particular sectors of the educational system and when undertaken by people positioned in different roles in the system. While each illustrates the particular challenges and opportunities of working from those roles, they also show the importance of relationships and alliances across sectors, and how leveraging what can be done in each sector can create collective momentum that propels the movement forward.

The chapters include:
Lobbying for Bilingual Education and English Learners
The California County Offices of Education: Working within the system and the power of networks to move an English Learner agenda forward

A Non-Profit Organization Supports the Movement: California Tomorrow's Immigrant Students High School Demonstration Project
Advocacy from Within the Department of Education: Moving the field through publication.

The Appendix includes The Sweep of History: A California Timeline

Product Details

BN ID: 2940185572320
Publisher: Californians Together
Publication date: 02/09/2022
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Sales rank: 47,075
File size: 18 MB
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About the Author

Laurie Olsen, Ph.D., was a founding board member and currently serves as President of the Board of Californians Together, a coalition to protect the rights of English learner students. She was part of the original English Learner Legacy and Leadership Initiative (ELLLI) Steering Committee, playing a large role in shaping the leadership development curriculum. Currently serving as Strategic Advisor (and formerly founding Director) to SEAL.org (Sobrato Early Academic Language), she has seen the growth and replication of SEAL’s PreK-5 model of English learner centric, joyful and rigorous education in 89 schools across 16 school districts in California. Olsen has spent the last five decades researching, writing, advocating, and providing leadership development and technical assistance on educational equity with an emphasis on immigrant and English learner education, language access and rights. Working with hundreds of school districts, school leadership teams and county offices of education across the nation, Dr. Olsen has designed, demonstrated, evaluated and implemented powerful PreK-12th grade English Learner programs and services, which support effective school change strategies. Her acclaimed Secondary School Leadership for English Learner Success series has reached hundreds of educators throughout California. She has published dozens of books, videos and articles on English learner education, including the award-winning Made in America: Immigrants in U.S. Schools and Reparable Harm: Fulfilling the Unkept Promise of Educational Opportunity for California’s Long Term English Learners. Olsen served as Co-Chair of the California English Learner Roadmap Work Group that created the new English Learner policy for the state and has served on the California Public Schools Accountability Advisory Committee and on then-State Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Accountability Task Force. For 23 years, Dr. Olsen directed California Tomorrow’s work in K-12 education and served as Executive Director of the organization for ten years. She holds a Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Studies in Education from U.C. Berkeley.
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