Statement from Understanding Language - Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education about recent events threatening our democratic values
February 3, 2017
The recent executive orders targeting individuals from certain Muslim countries as well as actions that threaten to uproot migrant students and their families who have lived for years in the U.S. have increased the need to take a stand in defense of the educational security of students affected by such political events.
We defend the rights of students and teachers who come from immigrant, refugee, Muslim, and indigenous backgrounds who now find themselves in a threatening environment, fearful for how recent political actions and rhetoric target them for discrimination based on their language, national, religious, and/or ethnic backgrounds.
As partners working alongside educators, we recognize the value of the various native languages and cultural diversity that students bring with them as a strength in their learning and development as citizens. Bilingualism and cultural diversity are assets, not deficits. We believe the intentional use of language is a critical and positive step toward reshaping the way we perceive and respond to diversity that produces equitable results.
In an educational system with wide opportunity gaps, we support the empowerment of educators to provide high-quality student-centered learning experiences, so that their students—particularly underserved students and English learners—can feel secure, fully participate, and thrive in their pursuit of education, careers, personal fulfillment, and civic life.
Our stance is rooted in our mission to work toward equitable systems of teaching and learning for all students. We actively work to support the transformation of education policies, practices, and research that create the conditions for coherent systems of continuous learning for all students.
We object to any executive action that threatens the humanitarian and constitutional rights of non-dominant mainstream peoples, including immigrants, Muslims and other religious minorities in the U.S., women, indigenous peoples, LGBTQ individuals, refugees, and economically marginalized subgroups. Education is not only a civil right, it is the route to economic and civic success, and nothing should stand in the way of equal educational opportunity for all of the nation’s children and youth.