Emmeline Ortiz:  Policy Paper on English Language Learning!

Dear Commons Community,

One of my doctoral students, Emmeline Ortiz, recently wrote an excellent policy paper on English language learning entitled, Commissioner’s Regulations Part-154: Language Policies in New York State for Multilingual Learner Programs and Services.  Below is a brief description and my comments.

This paper covers the history, controversies, and present state of English language learning as an incredibly important aspect of education policy especially in schools with large numbers of bilingual students such as here in New York City.   As background for instance, the fate of Bilingual Education was severely scrutinized in the 1990s.  See url:  https://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/22/nyregion/answers-english-question-instead-ending-program-new-york-may-offer-choice.html  Read especially the comments made by former  Schools Chancellor Ramon Cortines.  Emmeline also cites the work of Kate Menken and Christian Solorza, both of whom worked closely with Ofelia Garcia at the CUNY Graduate Center in the Urban Education program. Among other examples, Emmeline comments about Hostos Community College which was a grand initiative on the part of CUNY.  There is a dissertation or two waiting to be written about it. 

If you are at all interested in education policy related to English language learning, you will find Emmeline’s paper fine reading!  I highly recommend it!

Below is her statement of purpose for writing this paper.



            New York has always been a state of immigrants and continues to represent a diverse population of individuals. This diversity is reflected in our public education system, as millions of culturally and linguistically diverse students attend our schools on a daily basis. To properly serve the multilingual learner (ML) population, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) has created and continues to amend the Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154 (CR-154). This policy is rooted in a long history of language activism and is a result of federal policy, court case decisions, and state laws and regulations passed by the Board of Regents. It is necessary to understand the historical context and language of this policy to work towards an equitable education system for MLs, a population that is growing and often underachieving (Olsen, 2014).


Olsen, L. (2014). Meeting the unique needs of long term english language learners. National Education Association, 1-42.


Comments are closed.