Earlier this week I suggested a few broad adult education issues that might potentially be addressed in the bipartisan immigration reform bill the Senate hopes to release sometime in March.
But I hadn’t had a chance (until today) to look at what specific adult education provisions might have been proposed in prior immigration reform legislation. Most notably, I had not reviewed the not-so-old Democratic bill introduced by Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Leahy (D-VT) late in 2010, which included a number of specific provisions designed to strengthen adult education in the context of immigrant integration. “The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010” (SB 3932) not only included an expansion of federal investments in English literacy and civics education, but included other programs and policies designed to encourage English literacy instructional opportunities—such as tax credits for English literacy teachers and for businesses that provided English language instruction for their employees.
Sen. Menendez is one of the eight lead Senators hammering out the bipartisan bill we expect to see in a few weeks. I haven’t spoken to anyone about any conversations with Sen. Menendez on what might be in this new bill, and I don’t know if any of the adult education pieces in SB 3932 have come up during his discussions with his Republican colleagues. I don’t even have a solid sense of what my colleagues in the adult education field in general think about these provisions, although they look pretty good to me.
But since we know that Sen. Menendez is part of the team developing the new legislation, and that Sen. Leahy will have an influential role in the process as the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it seems to me that it’s instructive to review what they were thinking back in 2010.