For Immediate Release
February 3, 2015
Contact: Dionne Johnson Calhoun
Grosso Introduces Bill to Expand Language Access in the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C. – Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At-Large) introduced the “Language Access for Education Amendment Act of 2015.” The bill will strengthen existing law by increasing the standards of language access for all education and government services for all of our non-English proficient residents.
The legislation will also require all local education agencies to have English as a Second Language certified member on their staff and for materials and online content to be published in the top covered languages by OSSE, the Deputy Mayor for Education, and all local education agencies.
The bill will also address the language access gaps right here in the Wilson building by adding the Mayor’s office, the Council, and all local education agencies to the list of covered entities that must provide language access services consistent with regulations. Finally, the legislation will allow for a private right of action and create a civil penalties fund for violations of the Language Access Act.
Grosso stated, “Non-proficient English language speakers should not have to face such extreme communication burdens. True language access allows everyone who lives and works in the District access to higher levels of respect, dignity, and greater participation in all of the programs that the city offers.”
Since the Language Access Act was passed over ten years ago, the immigrant population has grown rapidly in the District. Immigrants represent over 85,000 people who live in the District of Columbia. “These numbers continue to grow and these adults and children deserve equal access to government services,” said Grosso.