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The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shift to virtual learning brought into sharp relief the inequities that English Learners (ELs) experience in New Jersey's public education system. Despite tremendous work on the part of educators, parents, and other caregivers to provide continuity of learning during this time, their efforts were hindered by school districts that fell short of meeting their obligations under New Jersey's Bilingual Education Code - the state regulations governing EL education - before and during the pandemic, and by a lack of sufficient guidance, support, and enforcement from the State, including shortcomings in the Code itself.The aim of this report is to identify EL-specific needs and rights within New Jersey's education system; understand whether schools are meeting these needs and respecting these rights; and, where they are not, make appropriate policy recommendations.
Between April and November 2020, organizers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and North Carolina had in-depth conversations with over 900 primarily Latinx immigrants—including nearly 400 undocumented community members. While capturing different moments of the pandemic, important issues facing immigrant communities were surfaced across the surveys.