Experts & Staff
Melissa Lazarín is Senior Advisor for K-12 Policy at the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, where she works on education issues related to immigrant children and English Learners. Her areas of expertise include education advocacy and policy development; testing, standards, and accountability; school improvement, including high school reform and learning time; and education issues facing English Learners, Latinos, and immigrants.
Previously, Ms. Lazarín was Program Director at the National Governors Association, where she oversaw issues related to educational equity. She also served in a variety of roles at the Center for American Progress. As Senior Advisor there, she authored reports on testing and standards, and helped oversee the education team’s federal policy agenda and launch the organization’s early childhood work as Managing Director of K-12 education policy.
Her previous roles include Director of Education Policy at First Focus, a national children’s advocacy organization, and Associate Director of Education Policy at UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza). She began her policy career with Social Policy Research Associates, where she evaluated workforce development programs and race relations in high schools.
Ms. Lazarín holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.
Authors of a MPI report were joined by practioners from California and Tennessee in a discussion on key challenges to meeting English Learners’ needs during the pandemic and the policies and practices school systems will need to put in place to support them and their families through the public-health and education crisis, as well as when schooling returns to normal.
The 2020–21 academic year is underway, but many U.S. schools, students, and families are still reeling from the rocky transition to remote learning that occurred months earlier, after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. For English Learners and students in immigrant families, many of the challenges are magnified. This policy brief examines how schools’ pandemic response is affecting these students and offers recommendations to help schools and districts support them in this period of uncertainty.
The transition to remote learning for school districts across the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for most families, but especially those with English Learner (EL) and immigrant students. This commentary outlines how the pandemic has brought new focus to well-known equity gaps and spotlights ways in which nonprofit organizations can be important partners in mitigating the effects of school closures and anticipated spending cuts.