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Letter from California Teacher Leaders in Support of AB 2121

June 1, 2018
The Honorable Ben Allen 
Chair, Senate Education Committee
State Capitol, Room 5072
Sacramento, California 95814
 
RE: AB 2121 (Caballero) as amended May 23, 2018 – SUPPORT
 
 
Dear Chairman Allen:
 
As classroom teachers and Teach Plus teaching policy fellows, we write to express our support for AB 2121, which would add both migrant students and newly arrived immigrant students to the existing group of students who can receive credit for work completed in another school and exempt them from local coursework requirements that are additional to state coursework requirements, if a student cannot reasonably meet the additional requirements in time to graduate. 
 
Migrant and newly arrived immigrant students face unique challenges due to family movement that puts them at greater risk of failing to graduate from high school. AB 2121 is a small step to help ensure that these students have a chance to graduate high school ready to pursue college or career, regardless of the challenging circumstances of their family.
 
We want to make sure that both of these groups of students, with their unique needs, have equitable access to education. Newcomer students come with a range of educational experiences, many with significant gaps in their formal education. These students need to not only master the language but also all the content knowledge they may not have received in their home country or in their journey.  Because of that, they might need additional time and consideration to give them a chance to graduate ready to live a full right and contribute to California. 
 
The Legislature has recognized the need to support students with challenges from frequent mobility to ensure their opportunity to graduate from high school. Current law requires school districts to accept satisfactorily completed from students in foster care, those who are homeless, former juvenile court school students, or those who are children of a military family and to provide students with full or partial credit. These students are also exempt from meeting local coursework requirements that are additional to state coursework requirements if a student cannot reasonably meet them in time to graduate from high school. AB 2121 will extend these rights to migrant students who also change schools often and newcomer students who have had unpredictable educational journeys, and as a result may struggle to meet credit and local graduation requirements. These students will still have to satisfy state coursework requirements. 
 
A high school diploma in today’s workforce environment is essential to better job and educational opportunities.  AB 2121 is a step in the right direction to support some of our most vulnerable students. 
 
For these reasons, we are pleased to support AB 2121. We urge you to consider how this bill could promote equal access and opportunities for migrant and newcomer students. If you have any questions about our position, please do not hesitate to contact us at our email addresses below.
 
 
Sincerely,
 
Sarah Lillis
Executive Director
Teach Plus California
 
Lindsey Bird
Language Institute Program Coordinator
Grace Davis High School, Modesto Unified
2016-17 Teach Plus Fellow
 
Katherine Blackburn
5th Grade Teacher
Manzanita Community School, Oakland Unified
2018-19 Teach Plus Fellow
 
Gwendolyn Delgado
7th and 8th grade History Teacher
La Mesa Junior High School, William Hart School District
2018-19 Teach Plus Fellow
 
Jeannemarie DeQuiroz
AP Biology Teacher
Camino Nuevo High School, Miramar
2018-19 Teach Plus Fellow
 
Amelia Herrera, Ed.D.
English Language Development Teacher
Grace Davis High School, Modesto Unified
2018-19 Teach Plus Fellow
 
Paulina Martinez-Perez
6th grade Spanish Language Arts teacher
Chula Vista Learning Community Charter School, Chula Vista
2018-19 Teach Plus Fellow
 
CC: Members of the Senate Education Committee
Assemblymember Anna Caballero