Understanding Language aims to heighten educator awareness of the critical role that language plays in the new Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. The long-term goal of the initiative is to help educators understand that the new Standards cannot be achieved without providing specific attention to the language demands inherent to each content area. We seek to improve academic outcomes for English language learners by drawing attention to critical aspects of instructional practice and by advocating for necessary policy supports at the state and local levels.
The first product of this initiative consists of a set of commissioned papers that focus on the shifts, challenges, and opportunities found in the new Standards. These papers were presented at a major national conference held at Stanford University in January of 2012. These papers represent a strategic analysis of the language demands contained in the new Standards. The primary message of these papers is that language matters and cannot be overlooked as teachers, districts, and state and local agencies strive to prepare college- and career-ready students. (from the Understanding Language website)