Q & A with Delia Pompa: We need to do more for English learner students

By Learning Forward
April 2019
Vol. 40 No. 2
Q: What do we know today about the needs of English learners that we have not historically addressed in teaching and learning? A: A lot of what we know today we have known for a long time. It’s been more a question of will and resources to do what needs to be done. We know that language and content skills are intertwined and that you support English learners’ academic development by supporting their language development. Researchers have been saying for a long time that you can’t separate the two. It’s not enough for all staff to have knowledge about English learners and how they learn. Everyone also needs to know their individual role in supporting these students. That means that content teachers need to understand

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Suzanne Bouffard

Suzanne Bouffard ( is editor of The Learning Professional

Delia Pompa’s distinguished career in education policy has focused on the needs of immigrant students and English learners. She is a senior fellow for education policy at the Migration Policy Institute and was previously senior vice president for programs at the National Council of La Raza (now UnidosUS) and director of education for the Children’s Defense Fund.

Pompa has had a long-standing influence on education policy through positions as the director of the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs in the U.S. Department of Education, executive director of the National Association for Bilingual Education, and assistant commissioner at the Texas Education Agency.

She began her education career as a bilingual teacher in Texas, later becoming executive director for bilingual and migrant education in the Houston Independent School District.

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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

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