Presented by: Vanessa Aramayo, Executive Director, Alliance for a Better Community;  Steven Almazán, Non-Profit and Public Agency Consultant

Two decades of anti-immigrant policies in California have catalyzed a new emerging era where the cultural and linguistic assets of English Learner (EL) students are increasingly embraced in law, policy, and attitudes. In the mid-1980s, an anti-immigrant movement pervaded California. By the late 1990s, voters passed a series of anti-immigrant ballot measures that denied undocumented immigrants access to public schools and health benefits, outlawed affirmative action, and replaced asset-based bilingual education programs with mandated, deficit-based English-only language instruction. This anti-immigrant English-only mandate swept the nation, with Massachusetts and Arizona following suit.

Today, California’s advocates and communities are fighting for asset-based policies and practices that uplift and develop an English Learner’s home language. While the English-only mandate has been repealed, twenty years of deficit-based language instruction have left EL students behind. Last year, more than 85% of English Learner students across all grades in California did not meet English and math standards.

The Resilience of California’s English Learner Students session will discuss the opportunity gaps among English Learner students through a data equity walk and the strategies and lessons learned by establishing the Consortium for English Learner Success, a group of over 70 organizations working to improve educational access, quality, and outcomes for English Learner students in Los Angeles County and California through advocacy. This session is intended for all learners to reflect on the impact that is possible through collaboration and advancing equity in education for EL students, the fastest-growing subgroup of students in the United States, whose treatment and education will transform schools, states, and the nation.

Join the “Resilience of California’s English Learner Students” session on November 21, 2019 at the Millennium Biltmore in Downtown Los Angeles to learn how you can support the count of children ages 0-5 in your community. Register here.


Vanessa Aramayo is responsible for overseeing the execution of the organization’s strategic plan, establishing policy priorities, and managing the coordination of Alliance for a Better Community’s (ABC) advocacy efforts aimed at improving the well-being of Latinos in Los Angeles County. Vanessa has spent her career working with communities to improve policies at the local, state, and federal level by building power to create lasting and positive systemic change. She brings nearly 20 years of experience working as senior staff for the California State Legislature and the United States Congress as well as leading local and statewide non-profit organizations. Read More.

Steven Almazán currently serves as an independent consultant where he supports non-profit advocacy organizations and public sector entities focused on racial equity and social justice issues, such as education, economic development, and affordable housing. He most recently served as the Managing Director of External Affairs with Educators for Excellence-Los Angeles, where he worked with teachers in LAUSD to contribute actively in district and state policy discussions by leading the external affairs strategy, creating and implementing campaign plans, executing media relations, conducting policy analysis and research, and developing coalitions with external stakeholders. Read more.