Whenever I ask anyone over at the Education Department who within the department is focusing on the interests of English-language learners, I'm given the answer: Thelma Melendez.
My colleague Alyson Klein reports a rumor over at Politics K-12 that Melendez, the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, is on the short list to become the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The department has deployed Melendez, a former ELL herself, to a wide array of pubic events to speak on behalf of ELLs. People within the department tell me she really cares about them. So I surmise that if she leaves, the attention to ELLs from the Education Department could be diminished.