Marshalltown High School Principal Aiddy Phomvisay said he knows the importance of having a strong English Language Learner program in schools - especially since he once was a young ELL student.
Phomvisay has joined a statewide ELL Task Force which has a goal to recommend state policy and funding to support ELL students and their learning of English as a second language. The task force was started by the Iowa Department of Education.
Phomvisay spoke to a Senate Education Committee about increasing funding for ELL last year, which was accomplished by the Legislature.
Phomvisay was an immigrant from Laos whose family fled as refugees before landing in Iowa. He said it's important to support the immigrant people who have kept Iowa's population rate on the increase.
"They are the hope," Phomvisay said. "They are the future. Some of the fastest-growing entrepreneurs are young immigrants."
School districts already get extra state funding for ELL students, but members of the task force would like to see those funds increase even more.
He said support of this population is also morally the right thing to do.
"It's about giving opportunities to some of the poorest and some of the most disadvantaged people, not only in our state, but for the world," Phomvisay said.
He is proud this area is on the forefront of helping these students.
"Marshall County is leading the way in terms of response to English Language Learners and I'm extremely proud of that," Phomvisay said.