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[Susan notes: Excellent point: The fact that LEP students don't do as well as English fluent students on tests is not a cause for alarm. It may seem obvious, but clearly the press doesn't get it and pass on a damaging message to the public. We should repeat this message over and over: not a cause for alarm. ]

Published in San Antonio Express-News

To the editor

The Express-News notes that English learners don’t do

as well as English fluent students on tests: “The

performance gap for Limited English Proficient

students is wide.” (“Bilingual ed help pushed,”

January 28).

This is not a cause for alarm. By definition, English

learners don’t do as well as others on tests that

require a knowledge of English. If they did as well as

English fluent students, they would not be classified

as Limited English Proficient.

A more interesting question is which methods help

children acquire English best. As Texas Bilingual

Association President Leo Gomez points out, the

evidence supports the use of bilingual education. Dr.

Grace McField and I have recently completed a review

of scientific research in this area. As have nearly

all other reviewers of this research, we have

concluded that children in bilingual programs

typically do better on tests of English reading than

do comparison students in all-English classes. In

these bilingual programs, the first language is used

in ways that accelerate English language development.

Stephen Krashen

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