Thurmond Passes Bill That Counters DeVos’s Apathy Towards English Learners

Press Release


Sacramento, CA – THURSDAY, SEPT. 27 – Assemblymember Tony Thurmond delivered for English language learners and all California students yesterday when Governor Jerry Brown signed his legislation AB 2514. The bill supports the creation and expansion of dual language immersion programs in schools.

“Language programs are critical to providing a well-rounded education that prepares our students for success,” said Thurmond. “Dual language instruction provides a better learning environment for English Learners, and moves us away from the past when English-only policies made it more difficult for English Learners to advance in their education. For any student, learning a language has a positive impact on their ability to learn all subjects and their chances to compete in the global economy.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has proposed eliminating the federal Office of English Language Acquisition. Thurmond said that this action would be a disservice to the 1.3 million English Learners who are educated in California’s public schools.

“22 percent of our public school students are English learners,” Thurmond said. “We will never close the achievement gap between English learners and native English speakers if we don’t make their education a priority.”

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and the California Association of Bilingual Educators (CABE) were a strong supporters of Thurmond’s bill.  Torlakson and CABE-PAC are also supporting Thurmond in his campaign to be California’s next Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“Numerous studies show that fluency in another language boosts students’ mental flexibility and enhances their ability to learn all subjects,” said Torlakson. “This legislation will give more students the opportunity to become fluent in a world language by making it easier for districts to launch Dual Language Immersion programs, allowing students to start learning a world language in kindergarten. I thank the governor for signing the bill and Assemblyman Tony Thurmond for writing this important legislation.”

AB 2514 establishes a grant program that will provide resources to directly to school districts to invest in dual language immersion education.   Because the program will be administered by the California Department of Education, Thurmond would effectively oversee the program if elected Superintendent of Public Instruction this November.