Our Rising Voices: A Call to Action to Support Emergent Multilingual Students

December 16, 2020
Research & Reports

This report is a partnership of organizations working in the Road Map Project Region, which includes the English Language Learners Work Group, OneAmerica and the Community Center for Education Results.

Racism and xenophobia have steered policies and practices that frame linguistically diverse communities—immigrants, refugees and Indigenous peoples—as deficient. But these communities have always had stories of their own—stories of love, connection, resilience, learning and justice—and now, more than ever, these stories are rising.

Our Rising Voices includes data, research and stories that reveal the inadequacies of our current education system in supporting immigrant families, especially Black and brown emergent multilingual students. More importantly, it highlights attainable and equitable solutions to which all of us can contribute.

This report begins with an introduction to emergent multilingual students in our region. It then dives into the three priority work areas of the Road Map Project English Language Learners Work Group: positive identity and primary language development, diversifying the teacher workforce, and postsecondary success. These are the levers for change that communities have been advocating for years.

The goal of the report is to share intentional strategies that can drive sweeping yet specific systemic shifts, rather than to catalogue all the comprehensive data about emergent multilinguals in our region. The recommendations at the conclusion of this report lay out specific actions to undo racist policies and practices, engage the love and wisdom of families, build the workforce our students and region require, and transform educational instruction so that equitable practices are in place in every school and classroom.