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Language a concern for educators (No Child Left Behind, Bilingual Education "E-lert")
WTNH-TV, New Haven ^ | August 22, 2003 | Erin Cox

Posted on 08/23/2003 9:26:32 AM PDT by LurkedLongEnough

(Waterbury-WTNH, Aug. 22, 2003 5:30 PM) _ The day after state education officials listed about 150 Connecticut schools as failing to meet specific standards, educators are voicing their concerns about students who speak English as a second language.

"You tell me that every teacher has to be qualified in every subject, that just doesn't work," says Superintendent John O'Brien of Region 1.

Connecticut educators are trying to give the feds a reality check about putting the No Child Left Behind law into practice.

Meriden principal Miguel Cardona says forcing kids who don't speak English to take the test makes no sense.

"Realistically this child isn't gonna pass the test so the school, the scores, are going to be hurt," Cardona said.

Thursday, 149 of Connecticut's elementary and middle schools were put on notice for not meeting federal standards in reading and math.

The scores are based on the Connecticut Mastery Test, which is given only in English.

"They show frustration, but I guess what I don't see is what they feel inside, they can't do this," Cardona said.

"We've got to find a way through the federal officials, local officials to get these tests out there in languages the kids speak," said Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-5th District.

Federal officials admit the No Child Left Behind law has some kinks, but add schools can't back down from expectations and assessment.

"If they're going so high stakes, they really should be more valid and culturally sensitive," Johnson said.

Many of the educators also attended a grants workshop, hoping to find ways to get more money for their schools.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: Connecticut
KEYWORDS: education; esl; meriden; nancyjohnson; nclb; school; teachers
Nancy Johnson - RINO. "More money", and cultural sensitivity are the only answers she can offer.
1 posted on 08/23/2003 9:26:33 AM PDT by LurkedLongEnough
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To: LurkedLongEnough
This is a subject that is of great interest to me because I am enrolled in a teacher certification program for ESL. I support English as the official US language and I would like to see bilingual education programs replaced with English immersion. I believe the tests should be given only in English and I support the basic premise of the No Child Left Behind Act....accountability at last.

HOWEVER, that said, these children cannot learn English overnight or in a few months. As a second language learner myself, I am sure of that. I have a fear that these new regs will penalize me as an ESL teacher because my students just got off the boat (or out of the Rio Grande) and cannot speak a lick of English. Will I be an under-performing teacher because they have not had time to learn enough English to pass the test? Will I lose my job because my students could not pass the test?

I don't know the answer...maybe they should be exempted from the tests until they reach a basic level of proficiency...but that would allow the school to present a false picture of the level of proficiency of their students (something I'm sure the schools would relish).
2 posted on 08/23/2003 10:54:26 AM PDT by DC native
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